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New NOAA website centralizes water data & forecasts

April 2, 2024

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) introduced a new website called the National Water Prediction Service (NWPS). provides real-time river observations in addition to precipitation estimates from both the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) and the Office of Water Prediction (OWP). Maps shows areas under flood warnings, watches, and advisories.

IT modernization to increase data access

Previously, river forecast data was shared via the AHPS webpage. However, its framework was unable to “incorporate new tools essential for addressing the escalating challenges posed by flooding, droughts, and water availability.” The web modernization now combines forecasts from OWP, which is outside NWS. Another improvement is access to observations from within the previous 30 days. Both AHPS and OWP used to provide hydrographs within the previous 3 days (72 hours). The new tool offers river-stage predictions as much as 7 days in advance.

Updated rainfall data to inform water management

NOAA is integrating Atlas 14’s regional estimates of rainfall depth, duration, and frequency into NWPS.

As the agency develops Atlas 15, insights will eventually be integrated into the platform. Atlas 15 will create future climate model projections based on those historical observations while accounting for climate change and develop precipitation frequency estimates for the 50 states and and territories. The first iterations of Atlas 15 are anticipated to be completed and functional in 2027.

NWPS resources include:

  • analysis of current snowpack contents,
    representing both snow depth and snow water equivalent
  • an experimental flood-inundation map layer,
    which represents the NWS’s best approximation of inundation extents based on modeled river discharge
  • ability to visualize administrative boundaries alongside hydrological information.

This storymap highlights key NWPS features to new users.