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Irene Analyses Exposes Flaws in National Weather Service

Irene Analyses Exposes Flaws in National Weather Service
Ryan Delaney/WAMC
A car sits half-buried after massive flooding swept through downtown Windham, N.Y. from Tropical Storm Irene.

A federal report following a yearlong analysis of the National Weather Service’s performance during Tropical Storm Irene says that the agency’s methods for determining risks of inland flooding should be more accurate and timely.

The Times Union reports that that information about the storm’s risks provided to the public and news media was found to be difficult to comprehend. The authors of the 129-page report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated that Irene exposed several flaws in the NWS. The report contains more than 80 recommendations.

Of the 40 people who died during the August 28th 2011 storm, NOAA (NO-UH) says that 23 of them were attributed to inland flooding. Frank Marks, the director of NOAA’s hurricane center said that the NWS’ tools to analyze rainfall data do not project the impact on surrounding communities. Marks told the Times Union that the data “is for computers, not the public.”

Among the suggestions NOAA says that the weather service reports should be concise and impact- and event-driven rather than number-driven.