High-quality precipitation analyses used for flood forecasts, drought monitoring and climate trends are being made available on NOAA's National Weather Service Web site on a trial basis through June 2006.

During this time, comments regarding the service will be collected to determine whether it effectively meets users' needs and whether the service should be continued after the trial period. Fine resolution precipitation data will help government agencies, river authorities, agribusiness, hydro-power utility companies and others make better, more cost- effective decisions about water management and the impacts of water surpluses and shortages. Emergency management agencies will be able to monitor impending flood conditions and conduct more effective operations during floods.

"Water resource managers can use this information to optimize water allocation to meet competing municipal, industrial and environmental demands," states Thomas Graziano, Ph.D., chief of the hydrological services program for NOAA's National Weather Service. "The emergency management community and the public at large can more effectively anticipate and respond to flood situations."

The precipitation analysis combines high resolution radar observations from 150 National Weather Service Doppler radars and measurements from more than 4,000 rain gauges. Data resolution is approximately 4 kilometers (2.2 miles), and the analysis is updated daily for the contiguous states and Puerto Rico.

The Web site provides access to graphics of precipitation totals for the previous day, the last seven days, the last 14 days, the current month to date, and the current year to date. Graphics are also available comparing precipitation estimates to normal precipitation, as a percentage of normal, and departure from normal. Users have the option of downloading the information shown in these graphics in geographic information systems (GIS) format as well as in NetCDF, a format used widely within the meteorological community.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA's National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global Earth observation network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.