NASA satellites could help predict flooding

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Della Allbright and her family live next to one of the area’s most notorious creeks, which can easily flood in just a heavy rain.

”It floods and out here the drainage system needs to be cleaned out because the water, it’s awful, it’s awful around here.”

Right now, people along the upper Mississippi river are getting flooded by water upstream.

Memphis is no stranger to flooding either. It saw plenty during the great flood of 2011.

But NASA photos that show the flood might also have revealed information to predict future problems.

”It certainly would be a valuable took for a public official to have, yeah,” said meterologist and former mayor Sam Rikard.

He says a study by researchers in California shows promise in predicting floods by looking at the capacity of watershed areas.

How accurate is this new statistical model? Get this: Researchers say they can predict floods five months ahead of time. That’s five months to prepare.

For instance, the Missouri River saw some of the first flooding in 2011.

A NASA map shows the buildup in water that fed into the Missouri months earlier.

”You would be able to plan as to the areas that might flood and what you would need to do as they were flooding and hopefully there could be some way you could prevent the damaging impact.”

And that’s important to people who suffer damage every time it floods.

”Very. Because last year my son’s car was flooded out here and that was just terrible,” said Allbright.

Meantime, scientists are working to refine their formula and get the satellite information faster, before the next devastating flood.

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