Floods to Droughts

Wendy L. Pearson, Hydrologist NOAA NWS Central Region Headquarters, Kansas City, MO


Living Near the River

http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/investigations/e s1308/es1308page01.cfm

NOAA¶s NWS Mission

‡ Provide weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy

Flood Safety


* Vehicles can be swept downstream in as little as 6 inches of moving water.

Water Cycle

How Water is Used & Reused

Reliable Water Information and Services for Decision Makers
Water Management
Drought Mitigation

Weather and Climate Information: Temperature Precipitation Wind, « Water Information Hydrology and Water Resource Modeling

Flood Control Public Safety (Flash Floods, Debris Flow) Water Supply Waterway Commerce Power Generation Agriculture Recreation Ecosystem Health

³Summit to the Sea´

Socioeconomic Sciences


What is a Flood?
‡ Flash Flood ‡ River Flood ‡ Low Water Crossing ‡ Hurricane Storm Surge ‡ Hurricane Inland Flooding ‡ Snowmelt Flooding ‡ Overland Flooding ‡ Dam Failures

Severity of Flooding

‡ Minor Flooding ‡ Moderate Flooding ‡ Major Flooding ‡ Record Flooding

Frequency of Flooding
100 year flood = 1% Flood 500 year flood = 0.2% Flood

NOAA Water Forecasts:
Where you are, when you need them
‡ Snowpack ‡ Precipitation ‡ Soil moisture ‡ River flow ‡ Surface storage ‡ Ground water

Water Predictions for Life Decisions

River Developed Shrubs/Grass Agriculture Wetlands Forecast Basin Forecast Point

Flood warnings for local communities Critical hydrologic information for neighborhoods and watersheds

Le wistow n, P A

9 7 flo od

9 99 flo od

9 9 flo od

Federal, Tribal, State, and Local Agencies, Private Sector and Academia

Water supply and soil condition forecasts for drought risk management



Working Together:

£   ¡    

9 4 flo od

NOAA Hydrologic Service Delivery
13 River Forecast Centers (Areas are in Color) 122 Weather Forecast Offices (Areas Outlined in Black)

Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Camp Springs, MD 12

NWS Products and Services
River Forecast Centers
(numerous) Via Satellite, LFWS Coop Obs.



Gridded Products

Tabular Forecast
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Text Products
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NCEP Graphical and Gridded Products

‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

Short and Extended Range Streamflow Forecasts Flash Flood Guidance Interagency Support Activities Hydrometeorological Discussions Hydrometeorological Support Products and Services

NWS Products and Services
Weather Forecast Offices

NEXRAD (many) RFC Graphical, Gridded, and Tabular Products
x x x

x x x

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(many) Warnings


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Public Forecast and Warnings Flash Flood Forecast and Warnings Service Hydrologist Customer Coordination Warning Coordination Meteorologist Service Coordination / Outreach

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Public Forecasts ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NCEP Weather and Climate Graphical and Gridded Products

Gridded Products

River level data

Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) http://www.weather.gov/ahps/
‡ Provide improved water availability and flood warning information by leveraging NOAA¶s infrastructure and expertise Modernize services through infusion of new science and technology ‡ Enhanced decision support ‡ Quantification of forecast certainty ‡ More accurate and timely forecasts and warnings ‡ Flood mapping ‡ Visually products



Outlook vs. Forecast

Probability Information
Two Ensembles:
Conditional Simulations (CS) ‡ 55 simulations each starting with the current model states only ‡ Blend of forecast and historic data drive the model

Historical Simulation (HS) ‡ one simulation for entire period of record ‡ 55 Hydrographs starting over a range of initial conditions ‡ Represents the hydrologic model climatology 18

Decision Support Information
Conveying Certainty
Difference indicates relative departure from ³normal´

Low Flow Information


Iowa City 2009

Fargo, ND 2009

Cedar Rapids 2008

Cedar Rapids 2009

Distributed Hydrologic Modeling
‡ Generate high resolution soil moisture estimates ‡ Agricultural use ‡ Debris flows ‡ Drought Extend to finer scales Accommodate land use change impacts

‡ ‡

Flood Inundation Mapping
Located with NWS river forecast locations Depicts flooding from minor to historical levels Communities can see potential impacts to the floodprone areas NOAA is working with partners; states, FEMA, USGS, and USACE to communicate Flood Risks.

NOAA National Weather Service

‡ AHPS Flood Mapping depends on partnerships, diligence, dedication, and commitment.


New Business Model for Water Forecasting:
Community Hydrologic Prediction System (CHPS)
Historically, organizations and groups: ‡ Worked independently ‡ Developed their own unlinked systems ‡ Duplicated efforts ‡ Used disparate tools and processes The new approach provides: ‡ Open system architecture to easily accommodate addition of models, data, and procedures ‡ Modern platform for collaboration with national/international agencies, universities, and private sector to leverage work of others
New Approach

Historical Approach


Emerging Strategy to Advance Water Forecasting
‡ ‡ Enable Full Use of Existing and New Observing Systems Accelerate Research-to-Operations ± Incorporate models and science developed by partners ± Deploy integrated (water, climate, ecosystem information) services for time scales of hours to months
Private Sector


Integrated Water Resources Science and Services (IWRSS)

Bureau of Reclamation

NOAA¶s R&D and Testbeds

User Needs and Requirements


High Resolution Observations and Models
Regional Demonstration Projects

Community Hydrologic Prediction System
NOAA¶s Unified Mission Delivery and Support Services


USACE Academia



Initial Federal Partnership for Integrated Water Resources Science and Services
Coastal Services Center Hydromet Testbed Forecast Offices Hydrology Program Hydraulic Engineerin g Center Water Resources Institute Remote Sensing Centers Cold Regions Research Lab

Water Discipline Geography Discipline

Water Science Centers

‡ Aligning multi-agency collaboration is essential ± Provide the Nation with a seamless suite of consistent water resources monitoring and forecast information ± summit to sea ± Sustain quality of life and the natural environment ± ³No water agency can meet the full array of climate change-induced 26 water problems on its own´

Integrating to Address the Challenges For All Water Agencies
Integrating Water Science and Services

‡ ³In this century, the U.S. will be challenged to provide sufficient quantities of highquality water to its growing population.´ - National Research Council ‡ Estimates of economic losses from recent western droughts are ³billions of dollars´. - Western Governors Association ‡ Competition for increasingly limited freshwater resources will make ³water supply availability a major economic driver in the 21st century´. - Nature ‡ The provision of adequate fresh-water resources for humans and ecosystems will be one of the most critical and potentially contentious issues facing society and governments at all levels in the 21st century. - American Meteorological Society

To address growing demand for relevant and reliable water information, we must integrate our water science and services to provide our Nation with water information when and where it is needed.


Drought Monitor

‡ Safety is always #1 ‡ Water runs down hill but which way is that? ‡ What kind of flood is it? ‡ What were the contributing factors? ‡ What factors will increase uncertainty of forecast? ‡ Can I help explain forecasts? ‡ Societal and Economic Impacts? ‡ What are the roles and responsibilities of local, state, and federal organizations involved? ‡ Media of all types are partners with NOAA NWS. We need storytellers to tell the flood forecast story!

When FLOODS make Headlines
‡ Deaths ‡ Record Flooding ‡ Evacuations ‡ Possible Disasters ‡ Millions of Sandbags and thousands of volunteers ‡ Road closures and washouts

NWS Message
‡ Text and Graphics online ‡ Talking Points and Sound Bites ‡ Headlines ‡ Complex Situations ‡ Scientific Jargon ‡ Uncertainty

New Media
‡ Internet
± U tube ± Online Radio ± TV station web pages ± News Papers Online ± Blogs ± Twitter

Flood News in Pictures

‡ http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/03/ red_river_flooding.html ‡ http://www.iowaflood.com/ ‡ http://nd.water.usgs.gov/photos/1997RedF lood/

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