The National Weather Service has created a “water prediction” office to understand and predict events such as floods and droughts.
“The new Office of Water Prediction will improve the National Weather Service’s ability to support local, state and federal agency efforts to manage water resources and plan for flooding and drought,” said a release issued by the NWS on Thursday.
The announcement comes a week after massive flooding killed at least 23 people in West Virginia. According to the National Weather Service , “extremely rare amounts” of rain began falling on the region on June 23. Rain gauges measured 8 to 10 inches of rainfall in a window of only 12 hours across a central band of the state. A series of thunderstorms formed a kind of train and hit the region in succession that the agency said appears to be a 1 in 1,000-year event.
Earlier in the year, Texas experienced its wettest month on record, and experienced extensive flooding throughout the state. Meanwhile, California is in the fifth year of a major drought.
The office will draw from staff at different NWS centers in Silver Spring, Maryland; Chanhassen, Minnesota; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.