NASA Earth-Observing Data Aids Arkansas with Flood Risk Management

Emergency responders during the May 2017 flooding near Pocahontas, Arkansas. Credit: U.S. Army National Guard/Spc. Stephen M. Wright

Emergency responders during the May 2017 flooding near Pocahontas, Arkansas. Credit: U.S. Army National Guard/Spc. Stephen M. Wright

Arkansas lives up to its nickname of The Natural State, with three national forests covering 2.9 million acres, seven national parks, scenic mountains and plains, and dozens of rivers bordering and crossing the state, including the mighty Mississippi.

But with all those rivers, flooding is a recurring natural hazard. For those providing relief and other emergency services to flooded areas, timely NASA Earth observations help determine the scope of the disaster.

“NASA is helping us derive the extent of the disaster earlier,” said Christopher Vaughan, a geospatial information officer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “That’s one of the hardest challenges for the emergency management community early on – determining how big and bad it’s going to be.”