AUSTIN (KXAN) — Flooding continues to be the most frequent severe weather-related threat in Central Texas and across the country. It’s not just a major threat but a costly one as well.

The National Weather Service has a new tool designed to help emergency and water managers be better prepared for and respond to flooding. This new feature being added to the NWS’ suite of products will work to support flash flood watch information and warnings.

It’s a product that will provide near-real-time, high-resolution street visualizations showing when, where, and how much flood waters are forecast. It’s the first of its kind.

Proper and timely communication is essential because lives are at stake in a flooding situation. This new modeling will provide more pertinent information for emergency managers, so they can be better prepared to mitigate and reply to flood impacts.

A spokesperson for NOAA’s National Weather Center says it will, among other things, assist emergency management officials to preposition personnel and resources ahead of flood events.

KXAN meteorologist Rich Segal spoke with Chris Morris, Senior Service Hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in New Braunfels. Chris says the forecast of river rises through text-based warnings will now be available in map form. This is important, he says because it will show areas that could potentially be impacted by river flooding.

It’s significant because this mapping information will be available in a real-time setting. Those who utilize the system will have a much clearer understanding of the rise in rivers and the amount of rain leading to the potential of flooding.

The new forecasting tool has been rolled out to certain parts of Texas (shaded in green in the map below), and the northeast United States, affecting 30,000,000 people, something Chris explains during this interview.