“It’s always been difficult for the National Weather Service to pinpoint exactly where flooding is going to occur on these low-water crossings, when it will occur and then [messaging] that information out to the public,” Cramer says.
Cramer and the NWS are working with Missouri State to build a VR simulation that simulates rainfall, runoff and stream rises for a flood point on Farm Road 164, where serious water rescues have taken place. Cramer says once the first build is complete and proves to be accurate, they will then construct additional simulations for other basins and flood points.
“The first step will be capturing water basins,” Drenon says. “Basically we’re going to be flying drones over these water basins, the actual physical location, and using a 3D modeling method called photogrammetry.”
Drenon says this 3D simulation gives them immense control given the ability to view water basin shapes on both a macro and micro level. A prototype will be revealed at the National Weather Conference in September.