The year 2019 brought national recognition to the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) in the form of two awards— the Tom Lee State Award for Excellence in Floodplain Management and the Hydrologic Innovation Award.
IFC received the Tom Lee State Award in recognition of the center’s joint floodplain management work with the Iowa Silver Jackets. The Silver Jackets is a team of interagency partners that works together to share resources and identify solutions to improve flood forecasting capabilities and expand data collection. The Iowa Silver Jackets group includes partners from IFC, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, and local emergency management coordinators. Together, they created the Iowa Bridge Sensor Project which deploys stream sensors across the state to help Iowans prepare for future floods. The stream sensors provide real-time stream data available on the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) to keep people informed about flood conditions on local waterways.
The development of IFIS spurred a second award for the IFC: the Hydrologic Innovation Award. The National Hydrologic Warning Council presents the award to honor a product or an improvement that benefits the hydrologic warning profession. IFIS is an online, interactive platform that predicts flooding and damages and allows Iowans to check for flooding in their area. The inundation maps on IFIS help users know how a predicted flood will affect their homes, businesses, or property.
As of 2019, IFIS provides 25 community inundation maps with more to come. Nearly 250 stream sensors are located across the state, with more than 25 new deployments expected by the end of 2019. Stream information is displayed visually on IFIS so the people of Iowa can be better prepared before the next disaster strikes.