Reliable tools and information
Monday, March 18, 2024

Though we enter this year's March Flood Awareness month amidst a drought, it's important to remember that flooding can still happen given the potential for heavy spring rains. Very dry soils can make it more difficult for the ground to soak up water. 

To help Iowans be prepared for flooding, the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) developed the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) that provides 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 IFIS for access to: 

  • Nearly 300 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 to improve flood and drought monitoring and forecasting. 

The Flood Center also provides free technical assistance to small Iowa communities to help them understand local flood challenges, identify solutions, and support grant funding opportunities for project implementation. The IFC is part of the University of Iowa College of Engineering and was established by the state of Iowa in 2009 following the devastating 2008 floods to help improve Iowa's flood resiliency. It is the first and only center in the nation focused solely on flood-related research and education.