NWS Slidell WFO relocation: Flood analysis with Coastal Risk Consulting.
The NOAA National Weather Service (NWS)
has hired Synthos, LLC to assist them in site location analysis for Weather
Forecast Offices and other facilities. In the Spring of 2019, NWS directed
Synthos to work with its partner Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC to develop a
custom Risk Assessment report to determine potential flooding risk for a
property identified for the Weather Forecast Office New Orleans/Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
located near the town of Slidell, LA.
The NWS office in Slidell experienced interruptions
to its normal operations in recent years due to hurricane impacts and other
severe weather events. In some cases, NWS
employees were unable to get to work at the WFO office, or access other NWS
sites, due to flooded and closed roads. The
area around the office is low in elevation, flat, and suspect to flooding.
Because the Weather Service provides essential services to the public,
business, and critical government services, this became a significant problem.
NWS workers need to get to work to perform their critical forecast work,
especially during severe weather events.
In early 2019, NWS was working on its plan
for a new Weather Forecast Office (WFO), which would provide updated facilities
and technology to forecasters. Based on
past experience with flooding, identifying potentially flood impacted areas,
particularly roads, was an important consideration when looking for an
appropriate site for the new office.
Synthos’ Partner, Coastal Risk Consulting (CRC), produces
high quality, scientifically robust, uniquely detailed flood risk reports for
residential, business, and in this case government property owners. The reports take into account a variety of
data sources and flood risk scenarios which far exceed the traditional FEMA Flood
Zone maps in both detail and usability.
Synthos worked with Coastal Risk Consulting to produce a custom report
for one of the preferred NWS sites for the new WFO serving the New
Orleans/Baton Rouge area. The CRC report looked specifically at transportation
routes around the new NWS location.
The graphic below illustrates the area of
concern at the potential site:
According to Will Freeman, P.E., Facilities
Engineer for the National Weather Service, “The
Flood Risk Report was of great value in helping us fine tune our selection of a
new site for the WFO.”
Moving facilities is an expensive
business. The surprisingly low cost of
the CRC report provided valuable information to NWS that they otherwise would
not have to aid their decision making process. Reports start as low as $199.
To learn more about CRC Flood Risk
reports, contact Tom Simon at Synthos, LLC,
or directly at 206-406-5246. You may
also contact CRC directly (www.floodscores.com). Be sure to mention Synthos sent you, for a 10%