The National Weather Service, which sends out approximately 12,000 flash flood warnings every year, hopes that a new emergency alert system will help avoid tragedy.
Preliminary numbers suggest that the new system — with a planned rollout beginning Sept. 16 — would pare down the number of warnings by about 80 percent, Mary Mullusky, chief of the agency’s Water Resources Services Branch, said. The aim is to emphasize the most dangerous floods, as well as simplify the warnings so that they are easily understood and relatable for the people who receive them.
“People are becoming desensitized to the warning,” Mullusky said. “There were just too many and we were getting complaints about them. We wanted to be responsive to that and help people readily understand what the warning is and take the appropriate actions.”