Iowa Flood Center works with North Carolina to better brace for the flood

John+Dorman+speaks+on+flood+insurance+during+a+collaborative+flood+meeting+at+the+University+Capitol+Centre+on+Wednesday.+John+Dorman%2C+assistant+director+for+rist+management+for+the+state+of+North+Carolina%2C+spoke+on+their+flood+prevention+methods+and+how+they+might+be+utilized+in+Iowa+City.+%28Katie+Goodale%2F+The+Daily+Iowan%29
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Iowa Flood Center works with North Carolina to better brace for the flood

John Dorman speaks on flood insurance during a collaborative flood meeting at the University Capitol Centre on Wednesday. John Dorman, assistant director for rist management for the state of North Carolina, spoke on their flood prevention methods and how they might be utilized in Iowa City. (Katie Goodale/ The Daily Iowan)

John Dorman speaks on flood insurance during a collaborative flood meeting at the University Capitol Centre on Wednesday. John Dorman, assistant director for rist management for the state of North Carolina, spoke on their flood prevention methods and how they might be utilized in Iowa City. (Katie Goodale/ The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Katie

John Dorman speaks on flood insurance during a collaborative flood meeting at the University Capitol Centre on Wednesday. John Dorman, assistant director for rist management for the state of North Carolina, spoke on their flood prevention methods and how they might be utilized in Iowa City. (Katie Goodale/ The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Katie

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Katie

John Dorman speaks on flood insurance during a collaborative flood meeting at the University Capitol Centre on Wednesday. John Dorman, assistant director for rist management for the state of North Carolina, spoke on their flood prevention methods and how they might be utilized in Iowa City. (Katie Goodale/ The Daily Iowan)

Brooklyn Draisey, [email protected]

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Iowa has seen its fair share of flooding, and collaborating with another often-waterlogged state could help stop the tide.

John Dorman, the director of the North Carolina Flood Risk Management Program, traveled to the Iowa Flood Center on Wednesday to present on his state’s long-term strategy in response to flooding and to begin working with the Iowa scientists to make both programs better.

While North Carolina and Iowa have vastly different landscapes and ways of being flooded, they both have the same goal: protect people and their property as much as possible. Dorman said his main way of achieving this is through flood insurance.

The North Carolina program has created a website allowing people to see their property’s risk in the event of a flood, how costly the damage could be, and an estimate of the flood-insurance premium.

The specific information can cause property owners to buy — or consider buying — insurance, Dorman said.

“If you’re going to buy flood insurance, you want to actually have information on the building you’re buying flood insurance for,” he said. “So, to be able to buy flood insurance knowing that the risk is calculated not on a line but on the actual building, I think, brings great value and validity to decisions.”

Witold Krajewski, the director of the Iowa Flood Center, said the economic aspect of Dorman’s program and the data on 5.2 million buildings for analysis of flood damage is what he’s really interested in. Iowa’s flood program is mainly focused on flood forecasting, so data on buildings here in Iowa would help officials predict how property could be damaged by flooding.

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“Our system right now does not provide all the economic analysis on potential losses and the flood insurance …” he said. “We would love to have the inventory of all the structures in the entire state.”

Krajewski noted that the Flood Center scientists aren’t going to merely copy what North Carolina has done, they will morph it to their own needs, geographically, technologically, and locally, in terms of Iowans. He wants to move what seems to gear toward technical people towards “regular people,” he said.

“I want to learn more from John about their approach to what is relevant to the general public,” he said. “So to me, sorting out these aspects, like trying to think about what you as a citizen, what is the most relevant to you?”

The Iowa National Guard is also taking an interest in flood-risk management. Tim Eich, the Army Aviation Support Facility commander, cited flooding as one of the most frequent domestic emergencies the Iowa National Guard responds to, so cultivating a relationship with the Flood Center will help the Guard be more efficient and keep down the cost to the state.

“A lot of the products that they’re developing are a great help to us in planning and coordinating that response in order to mitigate suffering and protect critical infrastructure in the state,” he said.

After his presentation, Dorman met with Flood Center personnel to dig into the specifics of the collaboration. He said no concrete decisions were made yet, but one thing is for certain — working together will be beneficial for both programs.

“Our intent is to really share what we’ve got, and the Iowa Flood Center and the state of Iowa can say yes, no, or let’s modify it, but collaboration is definitely less costly than going alone,” he said.

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