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Feds Tackle Rainfall Tracking After Floods Hit New Jersey

A key agency at the federal level would now get new funding to better estimate rainfall as well as possible flooding from storms under legislation recently signed into law by President Joe Biden.

parked cars on a flooded street
(TNS) — A key federal agency would get new funding to better estimate rainfall and possible flooding from storms under legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11th Dist., and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker after New Jersey was unexpectedly slammed in September 2021 by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. The storm hit the state with torrents of rain, heavy winds, extensive flooding, power outages, and tornadoes. At least 30 people died.

The legislation would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to update its precipitation data, take into account the impacts of climate change and work with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to develop best practices for future estimates.

“Unexpected severe rainfall and flooding are costly and upend the lives of New Jersey families,” Sherrill said. “Recent extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida only underscore the importance of an effective understanding and response to high water.”

Biden visited hard-hit parts of New Jersey after Ida and approved an emergency declaration for all of New Jersey’s 21 counties, making state and local governments eligible for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Homeowners and businesses received more than $450 million.

Booker said current NOAA data was out of date.

“We must take every necessary step to protect our communities from the increasing frequency of natural disasters caused by climate change — like historic rainfall and flooding throughout the country,” Booker said. “This will be essential as we continue to face the realities of climate change and extreme weather across the country.”

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