Example of an inundation map from the tool

Alaska Community Inundation Maps

Color-indexed elevation maps for flood-vulnerable coastal communities in western Alaska.

When an extreme storm is forecast for coastal Alaska, local community leaders and emergency managers want answers to questions such as:  "How high will floodwaters reach?" "From what direction(s) will flooding be most severe?" "Where are impacts most likely to occur?" "Which critical infrastructure is potentially at risk?" "How will this event differ from past storms at a local level?" These maps give community leaders and emergency managers a common and clear reference to communicate with one another and with the National Weather Service.

These color-indexed maps, freely available for download in PDF format, merge best-available datasets into a tool that can streamline communication about forecasted water levels, local elevations, and potentially impacted infrastructure in advance of storm events that may cause coastal flooding. These maps are not designed to function as flood inundation maps, but to serve as a tool to communicate about elevations in at-risk coastal communities until true inundation mapping can be completed.

Pilot work to test the usefulness of this map format is available for five communities: Kivalina, Shishmaref, Golovin, Shaktoolik, and Unalakleet. The map series was updated in 2017 using recent elevation data at Golovin, Shaktoolik, and Unalakleet, with additional maps created for Wales, Brevig Mission, Teller, Nome, Nunam Iqua, Hooper Bay, Tununak, and Toksook Bay.

As of September 2017, the full suite of data necessary for coastal flood inundation mapping is not yet available in many parts of Alaska. To meet the identified need for an interim tool, this widely-used map series can facilitate real-time discussions during storm events.

Last modified
20 September 2017 - 9:55am