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Floods to Droughts

Wendy L. Pearson, Hydrologist

NOAA NWS Central Region Headquarters, Kansas City, MO

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Living Near the River

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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

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Water Cycle
How Water is Used & Reused
Reliable Water Information and Services for
Decision Makers
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Drought Mitigation
÷   Flood Control

 
  
 Public Safety (Flash
Floods, Debris Flow)
÷    

   Water Supply
 


       Waterway
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÷

Power Generation
Agriculture
Recreation
èSummit to the Sea´
Ecosystem Health

  

 
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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

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NOAA Water Forecasts: Water Predictions
for
Where you are, when you need them Life Decisions
± Snowpack
± Precipitation
± Soil moisture
± River flow
± Surface storage
± Ground water
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NOAA Hydrologic Service Delivery

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NWS Products and Services
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(numerous)
Via Satellite,
LFWS Coop Obs.
NCEP QPF

(numerous)

Gridded Products Tabular Forecast


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WFO NEXRAD 1

Hydrograph Text Products


WFO NEXRAD 2
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Partners
WFO NEXRAD 3

NCEP Graphical and ± Short and Extended Range Streamflow Forecasts


Gridded Products ± Flash Flood Guidance
± Interagency Support Activities
± Hydrometeorological Discussions
± Hydrometeorological Support Products and
Services
NWS Products and Services
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NEXRAD
(many)

RFC Graphical, Gridded,


and Tabular Products
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(many)
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Warnings
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Public Forecasts
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± Public Forecast and Warnings
± Flash Flood Forecast and Warnings
± Service Hydrologist Customer Coordination
± Warning Coordination Meteorologist
Service Coordination / Outreach
NCEP Weather and Climate
Graphical and
Gridded Products
Gridded Products
River level data
Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service
(AHPS) http://www.weather.gov/ahps/
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Outlook vs. Forecast
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Low Flow Information

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Iowa City 2009 Fargo, ND 2009

Cedar Rapids 2008 Cedar Rapids 2009


Distributed Hydrologic Modeling

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Flood Inundation Mapping

Located with NWS


river forecast
locations

Depicts flooding
from minor to
historical levels

Communities can
see potential
impacts to the flood-
prone areas

NOAA is working
with partners;
states, FEMA, USGS,
and USACE to
communicate Flood
Risks.
NOAA National Weather Service

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New Business Model for Water Forecasting:
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Historical New
Approach Approach

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Emerging Strategy to Advance Water
Forecasting
± Enable Full Use of Existing and New Observing Systems
± Accelerate Research-to-Operations
    
     
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Private Sector

Bureau of
EPA Integrated Water Resources Reclamation
Science and Services (IWRSS)
NOAA¶s R&D User Needs and
and Testbeds Requirements

High Resolution Community


NASA
Observations and Hydrologic
Models Prediction System USGS

Regional Demonstration NOAA¶s Unified Mission


Projects Delivery and Support Services

USACE USDA

Academia
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Initial Federal Partnership for Integrated
Water Resources Science and Services

Hydraulic
Hydrology Water
Coastal Engineerin
Program Resources
Services g Center
Institute
Center Remote
Hydromet
Testbed
NOAA USACE Sensing
Centers
Forecast Cold Regions
Offices Research Lab

USGS
Water
Discipline
Water
Geography Science
Discipline Centers

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± èIn this century, the U.S. will be challenged
to provide sufficient quantities of high-
Integrating to Address quality water to its growing population.´
the Challenges For - 
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All Water Agencies ± Estimates of economic losses from recent


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 western droughts are èbillions of dollars´.
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± Competition for increasingly limited


To address growing demand for freshwater resources will make èwater
supply availability a major economic driver
relevant and reliable water in the 21st century´.
information, we must integrate - 
our water science and services to
± The provision of adequate fresh-water
provide our Nation with water
resources for humans and ecosystems will
information when and where it is be one of the most critical and potentially
needed. contentious issues facing society and
governments at all levels in the 21st
century.
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Drought Monitor
Homework
± 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
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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/