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Innovative Inundation Mapping

Innovative flood inundation mapping is being done in creative ways for the State Risk Management Team. Technology is making this easier each year. The tools in remote sensing and the software tools, like hydrologic and hydraulic modeling and GIS tools, are combining to offer the public helpful tools in discovering where flood risks are.

Flood Forecast Inundation Maps

This way of inundation mapping combines inundation map books with forecasting and flood warning, and they are offered as a way besides flood insurance rate maps to convey flood risk areas.

Below are web links to flood forecast inundation maps that the State Risk Management Team requested the Silver Jackets federal partners to setup for communities in Missouri. 

The revised Parkville, MO flood forecast inundation map is coming soon.


The document posted in the web link below explains why flood forecast inundation maps help the public understand flood risks.

Why Use Flood Forecast Inundation Maps Handout (pdf, 1.5 MB)

The combination of the three federal agencies work makes for a very helpful tool for communities:

1) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center offers technical tools which USACE and many others use to better understand flood risks and also to evaluate feasible structural features that may help reduce the impact of floodwaters. One tool is the hydraulic modeling software, HEC-RAS. This web page offers more details:

USACE Hydrologic Engineering Center (web page) 

2) This web link is to the federal agency that manages most of the stream gage information across the Nation.

U.S. Geological Survey National stream gage map (web page)

3) This is a web link to the federal agency handling National and local flood forecasting and flood warnings:

National Weather Service, Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (web page)

The following web link is a slide presentation used when the Federal Executive Board, Innovation Connection Awards, recognized the interagency partnership doing the multiple project sites across Kansas and Missouri. The partnership includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District, the National Weather Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The FEB awarded this team the 3rd Place Innovation Connection trophy.

Presentation to the Federal Executive Board 1-Aug-2017 (pdf, 2.4 MB)

2-D Inundation Map Products

Inundation maps are also being created for leveed areas using 2-dimensional modeling results. The following files are PDFs of images for projects in Missouri that are being used to help those in leveed areas better understand the limits of the abilities of levees to reduce flood risks. These are only offered for use demonstrating what USACE technical services are available. Readers should contact their local USACE district for proper interpretation of these map products.

This example demonstrates the use of a color ramp with an aerial photo to illustrate depth of flooding in leveed areas. This project also provided unsteady modeling to create a map of how quickly each area would flood (see image on right side of this page):

Buchanan County Levees (jpg, 4.77 MB)

Another example project, Missouri River Flood Event Simulation Mapping (FESM), took lessons learned from the 2011 to establish an interagency approach for near-real time inundation mapping. The project enabled a process, including between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the NOAA National Weather Service Missouri Basin River Forecast Center, to turnaround a map from the Kansas City District within 8 hours. This better prepares local officials, whether a community or a levee sponsor, to be better prepared to take action during changing circumstances.

USGS Flood Inundation Mapping with Silver Jackets

In 2018, USACE and USGS partnered to help communities along the lower Meramec River. USGS, through their internal program, leveraged over $10,000 they collected from the Metropolitan Sewer District in St. Louis, along with several thousand dollars from Arnold to Eureka, MO, to create mapping. USACE provided technical assistance with mapping on Bourbeuse River from the communities of Union to Pacific, MO. Together, the mapping results will be permanently hosted on the USGS FIM web viewer. The innovative part of the FIM web viewer is the ability to reflect on an inundation map a combination of flood stage conditions. This includes downstream conditions on the Mississippi River with specific known stages up the Meramec River. This helps the public better understand the difference between flood impacts from tailwater conditions, as was the case in 1993 flood, versus a flood from the upstream areas like in 2017.


Missouri River Flood Inundation Mapping

This inundation mapping project brought together the State Risk Management Team in Missouri and the Kansas Hazard Mitigation Team to develop inundation maps for the Missouri River from River Miles 377 to 398. The project included developing a prototype inundation map for discrete elevation levels to convey flood risks to communities between Parkville, Missouri and Leavenworth, Kansas and establishing the prototype process for making such inundation maps. The maps were developed with input from stakeholders from Ponca City, Nebraska to the river's mouth in St. Louis, Missouri, including Silver Jackets teams, state agencies, counties, cities, and levee owners, and incorporated lessons from the 2011 flood. Map development took into account how local communities would use the information and is intended to become a standard for doing Missouri maps so data will be communicated in a consistent manner for the whole river system. The flood forecast inundation maps are hosted by the National Weather Service, where inundation mapping coincides with a National Weather Service forecast point that can issue flood warnings. This project was supported with Silver Jackets Pilot (pdf, 913 KB) funding from the Army Corps of Engineers.  

Roubidoux Creek Flood Forecast Inundation Map

The project proposes the creation of a flood forecast inundation map on the NOAA National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (again, similar to the first project, above) for the Waynesville, MO.  This will better prepare the community for severe flooding, similar to the 2013 event, which saw Interstate-44 overtop by three feet and, unfortunately, resulted in loss of life nearby in the city.
Roudiboux Creek poster for USACE Flood Risk Management Conference (pdf, 892 KB)

Missouri River Flood Event Simulation Mapping

The team in Missouri has long been a proponent of communicating flood risks to stakeholders along the Missouri River with inundation maps.  This new project, Missouri River Flood Event Simulation Mapping (FESM) finally presents a continuous inundation map, but the project also establishes a process for use during changing circumstances.  The project enables a mapping process between the Corps of Engineers and the NOAA National Weather Service that, during a flood event, can account for levee breaches and overtopping and update maps of expected flooding in less than eight hours.

MO River FESM poster for USACE Flood Risk Management Conference  (pdf, 1.02 MB)


Return to Missouri Silver Jackets main web page


Third Place Innovation Connection Trophy Awarded to Kansas & Missouri Silver Jackets Teams:

Three Federal agencies work under an interagency partnership to create the inundation mapping products for communities:


An example image of the flood forecast inundation map at Leavenworth, KS. In this case the National Weather Service coordinated closely with the Corps of Engineers to establish an approach reflecting only one method of failure, overtopping, in leveed areas. The yellow leveed area means the area is not subject to flooding from overtopping until the stage is above the low point on the levee:

Missouri Silver Jackets helped Buchanan County, MO with their emergency action plans using innovative 2-dimensional mapping to reflect the timing of the flooding resulting from a Missouri River overtopping scenario.



For a fee, USGS can create inundation maps tied to varying stages. USACE provided existing mapping from Union, MO, to Pacific, MO in this 2017 project. The new sites go online in late 2019.