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Study says NWS needs to do better determining inland flood risks

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Albany/HV: Study says NWS needs to do better determining inland flood risks
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A scathing year-long federal report on the National Weather Service's performance during Tropical Storm Irene has been released. Among many other things, the report says the NWS needs more accurate and timely methods to determine the risks of inland flooding. Erin Connolly has more from Schoharie.

SCHOHARIE, N.Y. -- The National Weather Service needs more accurate and timely methods to determine weather threats, such as flooding. That's according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

The report says the National Weather Service didn't measure, convey and provide enough information to the public when Irene hit. The Association is offering 86 tips to the NWS to help improve their response programs.

Meteorologist say forecasts are driven by science, but in this case, the figures underestimated the devastation to certain areas, including the Capital Region and the Schoharie Valley.

"When we took the numbers and plugged them into our river models ,we got moderate to major flooding and that implies evacuations, structural damage, but it didn't imply the epic nature of what happened in Prattsville, Schoharie Valley and Southern Vermont," said Ray O’Keefe, National Weather Service Meteorologist.

The Schoharie Valley and parts of western Schenectady and Greene counties were among local areas in the Capital Region almost washed away by Irene.

Meteorologists also say the storm dropped nearly 18 inches of rain in some areas of the Catskills, breaking previous record high flood levels for countless creeks and streams.

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