Illinois Residents Can Check Flood Information Online

Dec 29, 2014

Ever wondered why some areas of your community flood more than others? It might be because they are located in a flood plain. Kingsley Allan, a GIS Manager for the Illinois State Water Survey, who helped design a mobile friendly version of the website, says residents can use their service to learn about flooding in their area.

The site features tools like flood depth grids. Allan says residents will be able to see how deep a flood could be based on current data. “Any green areas will be less than a foot,” Allan said.

New flood maps, like the ones coming to Winnebago County, use updated technology to determine exactly where floods could happen. Allan says the changes come from new high-resolution elevation data. “It has the effect of looking more closely at the elevation in order to determine where the new lines are,” Allan says. “There’s no difference to who lives there; it’s just kind of what the computer tells us.”

Allan says this information can be viewed by users who select the option “Preliminary Changes Since Last Firm.” “This takes the difference between what the maps were and what they are going to be and it highlights for you in red or green, kind of the colors of safety or danger, whether you should be concerned,” he said.  

Residents who check the website will also notice areas covered by the color blue. Blue means that no changes have been made and the locations are still located in a flood plain.

“Flooding is something that I need to contend with as opposed to avoid and pretend it’s not going to happen. That’s not to diminish what these people are going through,” Allan said. “I have great compassion for that; we’re just trying to let them show there’s a science behind what we are doing.”