NSSL researchers lead project to evaluate experimental flash flood products

Flooded roads in Oklahoma
Flooded roads in Oklahoma

A research team from NSSL is leading the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed – Hydro 2014 (HWT-hydro) project from July 7 – Aug. 1 to evaluate and improve experimental products used by the NOAA National Weather Service to issue flash flood watches and warnings.  Participants include NOAA scientists, technology developers, and operational forecasters.

HWT-hydro will coordinate operations with the 2nd annual Flash Flood and Intense Rainfall experiment (FFaIR) at the NOAA/NWS Weather Prediction Center (WPC) to simulate the collaboration that occurs between the National Weather Service’s national centers, river forecast centers, and local forecast offices during flash flood events.

HWT-hydro and FFaIR will simulate the real-time workflow from WPC 6-24 hour forecast and guidance products to experimental flash flood watches and warnings issued in the 0-6 hour period. The HWT-hydro team will shift its area of responsibility on a daily basis to where heavy precipitation events and associated flash flooding is anticipated.

The specific goals of HWT-hydro 2014 are:

    – Evaluate the operational utility of experimental observations of flash flooding from local storm reports, mPING (meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground) citizen scientist reports, Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment (SHAVE) targeted observations from the public, and USGS streamflow observations for product validation

    – Evaluate the relative skill of experimental flash flood monitoring and short-term prediction tools from NSSL’s Multiple Radar – Multiple Sensor (MRMS) system, and Flooded Locations And Simulated Hydrographs (FLASH) modeling network

    – Determine the benefit of increasing lead time (vs. potential loss in spatial accuracy and magnitude) through the use of the High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) 0-6 hr precip forecasts as input to FLASH

    – Explore the utility of experimental flash flood watches and warnings that communicate the probability of occurrence and the magnitude of the event

    – Employ human factors research methods to determine “best practices” for using flash flood prediction tools in experimental watches/warning and optimizing their displays in AWIPS2

    – Enhance collaboration across testbeds, and between the operational forecasting, research, and academic communities on the forecast challenges associated with short-term flash flood forecasting.

Researchers will collect feedback from NWS operational forecasters through comments during their shifts, live blogging, electronic surveys, and de-briefings. NWS feedback is critical for future development and eventual implementation of new applications, displays, and product concepts into AWIPS2 and other operational systems.
HWT-hydro 2014 provides a real-time environment to rapidly test the latest observational and modeling capabilities so they may be improved and optimized for transition to operational decision-making in the National Weather Service.