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CI-FLOW News

Irene to be test for experimental flood forecasting system

Hurricane Ike, 2008

Hurricane Floyd, 1999

As Hurricane Irene churns towards the U.S. coast, residents of coastal North Carolina have a new flood forecasting research tool to help them prepare for the expected deluge.

NOAA researchers lead the Coastal and Inland Flooding Observation and Warning (CI-FLOW) project, a total water level prediction system in North Carolina. CI-FLOW is the first system to capture the complex interaction between waves, tides, river flows, and storm surge to produce total water level simulations. NOAA forecasters will use CI-FLOW to help make more accurate flood and flash flood forecasts, helping coastal and inland communities react, respond, and recover.

The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory leads CI-FLOW's unique interdisciplinary team that includes local, state, regional, academic, and federal partners, emergency managers, and outreach and education specialists. The CI-FLOW system is focused on the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse river basins of North Carolina but the goal is to expand CI-FLOW research and technologies to other U.S. coastal watersheds.

The CI-FLOW system routinely collects weather, river, tide and ocean observations to be used in an interactive exchange between atmospheric, river and ocean models. Researchers and forecasters can access real-time simulations of coastal water levels for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season on a secure website.

The CI-FLOW project addresses a critical NOAA service gap: routine total water level predictions for tidally-influenced watersheds; and has a vision to transition CI-FLOW research findings and technologies to other U.S. coastal watersheds. This real-time demonstration will offer valuable insight on the accuracy and utility of total water level predictions for communities in the coastal plain of the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers and the Pamlico Sound.

The system is used by National Weather Service Forecast Offices in North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as the NWS Southeast River Forecast Center. Additional NOAA partners include NOAA Sea Grant College Program, North Carolina and South Carolina Sea Grant Programs, NWS Office of Hydrologic Development, NOAA Coastal Services Center, NOAA in the Carolinas, NOAA National Ocean Service Coast Survey Development Laboratory, and Texas Sea Grant.

 

2010 Atlantic hurricane season to provide CI-FLOW research opportunity

Hurricane Ike, 2008

Hurricane Ike, 2008

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season will provide a valuable research opportunity for the Coastal and Inland-Flooding Observation and Warning Project (CI-FLOW). The goal for the 2010 hurricane season is to demonstrate, in real time, that CI-FLOW can produce realistic simulations of total water level for an actual storm event.

CI-FLOW is a system that combines weather, river, and ocean observations with data from numerical models to produce total water level simulations for the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers and the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina.

The newly developed CI-FLOW computing environment will collect hourly multi-sensor quantitative precipitation estimates from NSSL's Q2 system and gridded quantitative precipitation forecast products from NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. The data will be fed into the CI-FLOW coupled model framework, which links the NWS HL-RDHM (Hydrologic Laboratory Research Distributed Hydrologic Model) to the ADvanced CIRCulation (ADCIRC) ocean model.

Currently, the CI-FLOW HL-RDHM routinely generates 10-day forecasts of river discharge for multiple points in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River basins. At four handoff points, the ADCIRC model will use the HL-RDHM discharge to begin its series of calculations to produce a 5-day forecast of total water level for the ADCIRC CI-FLOW domain.

This real-time demonstration will offer valuable insight on the accuracy and utility of total water level predictions for communities in the coastal plain of the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers and the Pamlico Sound.

NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) leads the interdisciplinary multi-institutional team of CI-FLOW researchers.

Tropical Storm Ida gives CI-FLOW research opportunity

Tropical Storm Ida gave the Coastal and Inland – Flooding Observation and Warning project (CI-FLOW) team a valuable research opportunity recently to demonstrate, in real-time, the capability to use the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory’s real-time gridded quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE) in the CI-FLOW river models.

NSSL is leading CI-FLOW, an interdisciplinary multi-institutional team working to combine existing monitoring technology and new techniques to forecast and warn of coastal storm effects such as heavy rainfall, storm surge, and the subsequent river conditions in coastal North Carolina. CI-FLOW will ultimately provide a total water-level product for any location in the watershed.

For this demonstration, the newly developed CI-FLOW computing environment collected hourly multi-sensor quantitative precipitation estimates from the NSSL Q2 system (nmq.ou.edu) and gridded quantitative precipitation forecast products from NOAA’s Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC). The data was fed into one of two CIFLOW models, the NWS HL-RDHM (Hydrologic Laboratory Research Distributed Hydrologic Model), to generate 10-day forecasts of streamflow from multiple points in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River basins.

CI-FLOW also tested NOAA nowCOAST (nowcoast.noaa.gov) CIFLOW visualization capabilities, supported by NOAA Southeastern- Caribbean Regional Team (SECART) funding, to explore how data can be displayed for stakeholder outreach by NOAA SeaGrant and NWS offices as well as internally for science assessments by CI-FLOW team members.

As CIFLOW closes out the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, CIFLOW partners will continue to leverage a NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) research effort to stabilize the Advanced Circulation model (ADCIRC) grid to accommodate inland rivers and bays in the North Carolina tidal zones. This will allow CIFLOW to complete a demonstration of the CIFLOW coupled model system to produce simulations of total water level for the lower portions of the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers and coastline of the Pamlico Sound using past storm events including Hurricane Isabel.

CI-FLOW passes test from Hanna

Hurricane Hanna

Hurricane Hanna

Tropical Storm Hanna tested the components of the CI-FLOW monitoring and prediction system when it made landfall in North Carolina in on September 6, 2008. CI-FLOW met expectations with high levels of correlation between the CI-FLOW model component estimates and traditionally measure rainfall and storm surge recordings.

CI-FLOW rainfall estimates during the storm were produced by NOAA NSSL's Q2 system, which produces precipitation estimates for the U.S. every five minutes using radar, satellite, lighting and atmospheric data sets. Post-event verification, available on the Q2 home page Offsite link warning, indicates the NSSL rainfall reports performed well in detecting the spatial extent and characteristics of the rainfall. Storm surge forecasts produced by CI-FLOW partners at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) accurately predicted the coastal surge levels of one-three feet.

The CI-FLOW research team will continue to investigate linking inland river models and coastal ocean/estuary models, each using input from high-resolution weather forecast models and multi-sensor precipitation estimates. This capability will increase the accuracy of water level forecasts in the tidal plain by ensuring storm surge impacts and inland streamflow conditions are taken into account.