Retrospective Case Study of the Impact of Rain Gage Network Reductions on National Weather Service River Forecasts in the Susquehanna River Basin

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 4:45 PM
Room C210 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Peter Ahnert, NOAA/NWS/Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, State College, PA; and K. P. Hlywiak, C. L. Moser, and S. M. Reed
Manuscript (3.9 MB)

Recent funding cuts in FY2013 resulted in the loss of 47 U.S. Geological Survey rain gages in the Pennsylvania portion of the Susquehanna River basin. Additional rain gages in the New York portion of the basin are threatened in FY2014. To understand the impacts these cuts may have on operational river forecasts, retrospective hydrologic simulation model runs were made for several significant flood events that occurred prior to the loss of these gages. Mean Areal Precipitation (MAP) values used as critical input into the hydrologic model were computed using 1) all available gages and 2) removing the discontinued rain gages in Pennsylvania and the threatened gages in New York. The river simulations from these retrospective runs will also be compared to retrospective simulations using Multi-sensor Precipitation Estimates (MPE). These comparisons are useful for illustrating the potential impacts of these rain gage network reductions on forecast accuracy and timeliness in the future.