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Tomorrow.io's flood forecasting interface. Screenshot: Tomorrow.io

Tomorrow.io, the fast-growing weather and climate intelligence provider, unveiled Thursday a flood risk index for its data platform. The goal is to help cities, companies and others better prepare for extreme precipitation events.

Why it matters: The new product, first revealed by Axios, arrives following devastating flooding from Hurricane Ida, which left dozens dead in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York last week.

Driving the news: The new forecasting tool is being released as climate scientists express more confidence in the link between extreme precipitation events, which can cause damaging flooding and human-caused global warming.

Details: According to the company, the flood risk index uses both publicly accessible and in-house hydrologic models, along with historical data on runoff and streamflow to identify the risk of river and urban flooding up to five days in advance at any spot on the globe.

  • The model and weather intelligence platform — you can think of its function as a weather and climate version of a Bloomberg terminal — is designed to alert designated personnel at a company or city-level if the risk of flooding exceeds certain criteria.
  • It can also recommend that they take particular pre-selected actions, such as closing floodgates to protect city infrastructure, preparing an emergency alert message and others.

Yes, but: Flood forecasting, particularly five days ahead of time, is extremely complex. It involves variables ranging from instantaneous rainfall rates to data on preceding precipitation to determine how much new water the ground can absorb.

  • There are also established, more focused competitors in the field of flood monitoring, modeling and forecasting, such as Fathom and the nonprofit First Street Foundation, though some are dedicated more to catastrophe risk management.

Between the lines: Tomorrow.io is a well-funded, brash upstart in the weather business, with a vision that now extends into space. It counts among its customers Uber, United, Delta and National Grid.

  • The company plans to launch a constellation of more than two-dozen radar-carrying satellites beginning late next year, which it claims could revolutionize forecasting for the billions of people who live outside of ground-based radar coverage, mainly in developing nations.
  • On Tuesday, Tomorrow.io, also revealed it was selected as a subcontractor on a project aimed at helping the U.S. stay competitive in the field of weather computer modeling, via a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Raytheon.
  • The company's role will be to help build a cloud-based Earth modeling system for the new public-private Earth Prediction and Innovation Center.

Go deeper

Climate risk firm Jupiter Intel announces financing and expansion

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Jupiter Intelligence, an extreme weather and climate risk management firm, announced Tuesday it is picking up a major new Japanese investor, venture capital fund MPower Partners, to jump-start an Asian expansion.

The big picture: The total investment is not yet disclosed, but Jupiter’s co-founder and CEO, Rich Sorkin, told Axios it is "substantially more" than the total investments used to build up Jupiter so far, which puts it above $40 million.

Scoop: Beto plans Texas comeback in governor's race

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.

Texas doctor says he performed an abortion in violation of state law

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue and back to the Texas state capitol in Austin, Tx in July 2021. Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

A Texas doctor disclosed in an op-ed in the Washington Post Saturday that he has performed an abortion in violation of the state's restrictive new abortion law, which bans effectively bans the procedure after six weeks.

Why it matters: Alan Braid's op-ed is a direct disclosure that will very likely result in legal action, thereby setting it up as a potential test case for how the abortion ban will be litigated, notes the New York Times.