Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The National Weather Service has shared that the spring flood risk for the Mississippi River is well above normal, and many communities are experiencing moderate to major flood conditions. To help Iowans prepare for flooding, the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) developed the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) to provide real-time information about stream levels, flood alerts and forecasts, and hydrologic conditions for the entire state.

IFIS is an online tool that provides reliable and accessible information that helps citizens, community leaders, and emergency responders understand and reduce flood risks. The information provided by IFIS can help minimize flood damage and protect people, infrastructure, and the environment. Visit for access to:

  • More than 260 IFC-designed, -built, and -deployed stream sensors that collect river levels every 15 minutes and share data on IFIS. The statewide network complements U.S. Geological Survey stream gages by filling in data gaps to improve flood monitoring and forecasting.
  • Flood alerts and forecasts for more than 1,000 Iowa communities, helping Iowans better plan and prepare in advance of a flood.
  • High-resolution flood inundation maps that show the extent of possible flooding for every Iowa stream in all 99 counties. Detailed community-based maps are available for dozens of cities in Iowa (with more to come!) to show how predicted flood extent and depth could affect property and critical infrastructure.
  • A network of hydrologic weather stations that collects data on rainfall, soil moisture and temperature conditions, groundwater levels in shallow wells, and other weather data. IFC will add more than 30 new hydrostations to its network, helping to improve flood- and drought- monitoring and forecasting. IFC is working toward a goal of one hydrostation in every county to better predict floods, assess droughts, and manage Iowa’s water resources.

Building on these tools, the IFC will share its expertise to support the new $360 million Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology (CIROH) housed at the University of Alabama and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Working with CIROH collaborators, IFC will serve as a key partner to help improve the country’s ability to predict and manage water-related hazards.

The Iowa Flood Center is part of the University of Iowa College of Engineering. It is the first and only center in the nation focused solely on flood-related research and education. The IFC was established by the state of Iowa in 2009 following the devastating 2008 floods to help Iowans understand and reduce their flood risks.