NWS Slidell WFO relocation: Flood analysis with Coastal Risk Consulting


The NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) has hired Synthos, LLC to assist them in site location analysis for Weather Forecast Offices and other facilities. In the Spring of 2019, NWS directed Synthos to work with its partner Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC to develop a custom Risk Assessment report to determine potential flooding risk for a property identified for the Weather Forecast Office New Orleans/Baton Rouge, Louisiana, located near the town of Slidell, LA.

The NWS office in Slidell experienced interruptions to its normal operations in recent years due to hurricane impacts and other severe weather events.  In some cases, NWS employees were unable to get to work at the WFO office, or access other NWS sites, due to flooded and closed roads.  The area around the office is low in elevation, flat, and suspect to flooding. Because the Weather Service provides essential services to the public, business, and critical government services, this became a significant problem. NWS workers need to get to work to perform their critical forecast work, especially during severe weather events.

In early 2019, NWS was working on its plan for a new Weather Forecast Office (WFO), which would provide updated facilities and technology to forecasters.  Based on past experience with flooding, identifying potentially flood impacted areas, particularly roads, was an important consideration when looking for an appropriate site for the new office.

Synthos’ Partner, Coastal Risk Consulting (CRC), produces high quality, scientifically robust, uniquely detailed flood risk reports for residential, business, and in this case government property owners.  The reports take into account a variety of data sources and flood risk scenarios which far exceed the traditional FEMA Flood Zone maps in both detail and usability.  Synthos worked with Coastal Risk Consulting to produce a custom report for one of the preferred NWS sites for the new WFO serving the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area. The CRC report looked specifically at transportation routes around the new NWS location.

The graphic below illustrates the area of concern at the potential site:

According to Will Freeman, P.E., Facilities Engineer for the National Weather Service, “The Flood Risk Report was of great value in helping us fine tune our selection of a new site for the WFO.”

Moving facilities is an expensive business.  The surprisingly low cost of the CRC report provided valuable information to NWS that they otherwise would not have to aid their decision making process. Reports start as low as $199.

To learn more about CRC Flood Risk reports, contact Tom Simon at Synthos, LLC, or directly at 206-406-5246.  You may also contact CRC directly (www.floodscores.com).  Be sure to mention Synthos sent you, for a 10% discount!