J4.3 A New Era of Water Forecasts: Giving People Water Information When and Where It Matters Most

Wednesday, 21 June 2017: 4:10 PM
Salon III (InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza)
David J. Gochis, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and A. Gaydos

Currently, forecasts of floods, flash floods, and snow pack, as well as travel and recreational hazards and drought are somewhat loosely interpreted from weather forecasts. The actual time and locations of impacts from severe and anomalous weather are typically not a detailed part of the forecast until events actually start unfolding. This puts the public and many key decision makers in a reactive instead of a proactive mode. Additionally, during severe weather events, many of our surface observing stations, such as stream gauges, can get damaged and their communications can be disrupted resulting in a loss of critical situational awareness. New operational forecasting capabilities are now available which provide detailed, 'street-level' analyses and predictions of hydrologic conditions on the ground. These forecasts, developed by NOAA and its research partners, are providing a wealth of water information such as streamflow, flood inundation, snowpack conditions, lake levels, lake inflows and outflows, soil moisture and crop water use with unprecedented spatial fidelity and timeliness. The value of this new water forecast information is realized when it is combined with other information on roads, schools, hospitals, dams, levees and other important infrastructure, to create a fusion of geo-intelligence and water-intelligence, ultimately helping to pinpoint likely times, locations and severity of hazards. This presentation will show
examples of these new kinds of forecast products and, in doing so, will provide a view on what the new world of water forecasting will look like and hopefully stimulate discussion on how the broadcast community can best convey them to the public.
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