89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 13 January 2009: 3:30 PM
The Midwest Flooding of June 2008: A National Weather Service Assessment
Room 230 (Phoenix Convention Center)
James E. Hoke, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, Camp Springs, MD
In June 2008, significant flooding affected much of the central U.S. In some cases rivers reached record levels. Most severely impacted were the States of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin, with less serious flooding in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Some of the worst impacts affected agriculture, transportation, and infrastructure, including homes, businesses, levees, and other water-control structures.

The National Weather Service Director chartered a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency team to document and evaluate the performance and overall effectiveness of NWS flood forecasting, as well as the issuance and efficacy of flood warnings, with attention to the value of interagency collaboration. Although significant flooding occurred across a large geographic extent of the Midwest and Plains States, the service assessment team was asked to focus its on-site assessment on Iowa because the impacts to Iowa provided a cross-sectional representation of the overall flooding consequences.

The objective of the service assessment was to enhance the ability of the NWS to serve its constituencies by preparing a report of recommendations and best practices. The focus areas of the assessment were:

1) the meteorological and hydrologic nature of the event and its impacts,

2) the end-to-end forecast process involving the NWS, USGS, and USACE,

3) the interagency collaboration in the forecast process,

4) the usefulness of the tools and data in the forecast process,

5) the accuracy and effectiveness of service, and

6) the societal perceptions, impacts, and responses to the forecasts.

This presentation will discuss the meteorology and hydrology of this significant event, as well as findings and recommendations by the service assessment team.

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