Monday, August 04, 2008

Hurricane and Flood Information

As tropical storms and hurricanes make their presence known in the Gulf Coast area, helpful information is available from three government sites. Two branches of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are especially useful when the skies are stormy. NOAA's National Weather Service makes a quick visual survey of weather easy with its map of the United States color-coded for various weather conditions. It also offers links to weather-related RSS feeds and warnings by state or city. The service even offers an experimental UV Alert Forecast Map.

NOAA's National Hurricane Center also offers hurricane advisories and local forecasts available by city or zip code. You can even sign up to receive hurricane advisories on your cell phone. Their hurricane awareness page contains online guides, brochures, and miscellaneous current and historical hurricane-related information including some written in Spanish.

On the local level the Harris County Flood Control District has "full and lite" versions of hurricane trackers to download. You can use their floodplain mapping tool to find out if you live in or near a floodplain, and their flood preparedness link to "learn facts that could save your life." The site also contains information about who needs flood insurance.