A Fargo-based group that conducts watershed research in the Red River Valley is launching an app for people to report flooding conditions that could help the National Weather Service and other agencies.
The International Water Institute's mobile web program, known as CRED, allows anyone to report on flooding, snow pack, ice jams and the status of sandbag dikes. The app will enable observers to submit photos and reports directly from the field. Those images will be displayed on an interactive map.
Chuck Fritz, director of the Fargo flood research group, said the weather service has been asking for "on-the-ground, anecdotal" information to plug into its forecast models.
"We need people to start using it because they want the information," Fritz said, referring to weather service forecasters. "This is a situation where more is better. They can filter out what they don't need."
Users can submit information through Twitter, Google or Facebook and do not have to sign up for an account, Fritz said.
"We wanted to make this so easy that anyone can do it," he said.
Officials in Fargo are preparing for the Red River to peak at 41 feet, which challenge the all-time flooding record set in 2009. It will be the city's fourth major flood fight in five years.
The app can be found at http://cred.wq.io .