Kansas Flood Depth Mapping
Published on November 6, 2009 by Berry Clemens
Tags: Flooding, Land cover, Satellite imagery
Severe, widespread flooding in southeast Kansas in 2007 resulted in a Federal Disaster Declaration in 20 counties. Researchers at the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program (KARS), a research unit of the Kansas Biological Survey, helped gather and interpret satellite and airborne imagery for this event, with the objective of identifying areas impacted by floodwater.
KARS scientists were able to provide valuable, post-event information to communities and state agencies, but limitations of imaging systems (such as cloud obstruction and delayed timings of overflights) exposed a critical information gap--the State had no capability for real-time estimation of floodwater extent. This information is vital for improving situational awareness as the event unfolds, which is when it is most critically needed for protecting people and property.
With the support of the Kansas Adjutant General's Department, and using funding provided by the Kansas Water Office, researchers at KARS developed a digital map library showing potential inundation extents along the major waterways in eastern Kansas. Using real-time and forecast river stage information, the map library allows for seamless, wide-area estimation of floodwater extent during severe flood events.
As a result of these efforts, when the next catastrophic flood event hits eastern Kansas, emergency responders will have a much better idea where the floodwaters will be.