Sherrill, Weber Introduce Bipartisan FLOODS Act

December 8, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC -- Representatives Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Randy Weber (TX-14) introduced the bipartisan Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support (FLOODS) Act to establish a National Integrated Flood Information System. This is companion legislation to S. 4462 sponsored by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Gary Peters (D-MI) that passed the chamber in November.

Flooding is the most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters in the United States. It can occur as a result of heavy rains, coastal storm surges, fast snowmelt, and when dams or levees break – making flooding a coast-to-coast issue. Despite numerous challenges posed by storms, weather forecasting is inherently uncertain. It’s particularly important to address the communication of uncertainty to users and discuss not only predictions of weather variables, but also predictions of weather impacts. This legislation would improve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) forecasting and communication of flood, tornado, and hurricane events.

“We have seen repeat and devastating flooding in North Jersey that endangers homes and businesses,” said Rep. Sherrill. “Improving NOAA forecasting and communication will help communities across the country facing these same challenges. I am proud to work with Representative Weber and urge our colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation that passed unanimously in the Senate.”

“In Southeast Texas, we get to experience both the joys and perils of living with water. But our harrowing experiences with Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda have demonstrated the need for a clear and accurate flood forecasting system capable of reducing the danger to lives and property from these high rainfall events. Our communities are far from alone in dealing with the threats of flooding, and I am proud to support this important piece of legislation,” said Rep. Weber.

Specifically, the FLOODS Act would:

  • Establish a “National Integrated Flood Information System” to coordinate and integrate flood research at NOAA;
  • Establish partnerships with institutions of higher education and federal agencies to improve total water predictions;
  • Designate a service coordination hydrologist at each National Weather Service River Forecast Center to increase impact-based decision support services at the state and local level;
  • Evaluate and improve flood watches and warnings and communication of information to support coordinated flood management;
  • Encourage NOAA to evaluate acoustic tracking and measuring of windstorms, use aerial surveys of floodwaters to improve flood mapping, and improve modeling of freshwater outflow into the ocean;
  • Establish a Committee to ensure coordination of Federal Departments with joint or overlapping responsibilities in water management.

The following groups have supported the FLOODS Act: Jacobs, National Association of Realtors, Association of State Flood Plain Managers, American Property Casualty Insurance Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, US Geospatial Executives Organization, National Flood Association, National Society of Professional Surveyors, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund.