2A.2 National Weather Service Impact Decision Support Services for the Historic Spring Flood of 2019 in the Mississippi Watershed

Monday, 13 January 2020: 10:30 AM
253C (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Corey B. Loveland, NOAA/NWS, Chanhassen, MN; and S. D. Buan

Handout (5.4 MB)

The annual lead up to spring runoff season had the five National Weather Service River Forecast Centers for the Mississippi watershed undergoing extensive measures to frequently inform a broad constituent base for the coming significant spring flood season. By early 2019, the spring flood prospects looked especially threatening. Northern regions observed anomalously high snowpack late in the season sitting over soils left near impervious due to moisture saturation and deep freezes. High winter streamflow due to the excessive fall rains led to thick ice on many rivers. Southern areas battled floods throughout the winter from repeated bouts of heavy precipitation. Achieving adequate readiness levels is a multifaceted task, involving early coordination with key partners, thorough comparisons to historical events and climatological conditions, and extensive data reconnaissance to construct a detailed picture of river basin states going into the snowmelt and spring rain season. In this presentation, we will chronicle the steps taken and extensive coordination to prepare for the 2019 spring flood season, when the signs pointed to record-breaking and long duration flood potential and what actions the National Weather Service took to disseminate this information to the public and partners.
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