Rep. Mikie Sherrill recently introduced a package of bipartisan legislation to address flooding, the most common and widespread of all weather-related disasters in the U.S.
Sherrill noted as weather forecasting remains inherently uncertain, legislation is needed to address that uncertainty as well as predictions of weather impacts.
The Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support (FLOODS) Act would create a National Integrated Flood Information System designed to coordinate and integrate research on top of what is provided at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The FLOODS Act
The act would establish partnerships with colleges and university to improve total water predictions, with a committee established to ensure coordination of federal departments in regards to water management.
Under the bill, flood risk communications would be improved, including a focus on flood watches and warnings.
“Flooding can be devastating for homeowners, business owners, and communities across the country,” said Rep. Sherrill. “We’ve seen the impact right here in North Jersey with repeat flooding events.”
The PRECIP Act
The second bill in the package is the Providing Research and Estimates of Changes in Precipitation (PRECIP) Act, which would update out-of-date data in the U.S. by providing NOAA with funding to collect and conduct data studies.
Additionally, NOAA would need to include future changes in precipiation due to climate change, and work with the National Academies to complete a consensus study for best practices.
“The FLOODS Act and the PRECIP Act will help the federal government improve forecasting and communication of flood, tornado, and hurricane events to better serve communities at risk for flooding events,” said Sherrill.
This bills garnered support from a variety of organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Waterfront Alliance, among others.
“Investing in science and NOAA’s prediction and communication capabilities is crucial and will help keep communities—particularly vulnerable communities in coastal and inland floodplains—safe,” said Shana Udvardy, Climate Resilience Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists.
As the climate changes and the severity and frequency of extreme precipitation events rise in most regions of the country, this bill will help ensure communities get the information they need to be safer,” said Shana Udvardy, Climate Resilience Analyst.
The legislation had a number of cosponsors, including of New Jersey House colleagues Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr., Albio Sires, and Frank Pallone, Jr.