Monday, 11 January 2016
Multiple heavy rain events occurred over the Southern Plains of the United States during the late spring and early summer of 2015. Across the Red River Basin of Southern Oklahoma and Northern Texas in May, widespread rainfall totals over twenty inches occurred, which is 300 to 600 percent of normal. Major flooding developed along the Lower Red River and its major tributaries, with many locations setting record stage and elevation levels in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Northern Louisiana. The Red River crested and fell to near or below flood stage in most locations by late June. However, the arrival of Tropical Depression Bill brought more extremely heavy rainfall to the Red River Basin leading to renewed flooding along the Red River that continued into early July. The Red River flows through thirteen of the forty-eight counties and parishes served by the National Weather Service forecast office in Shreveport, LA. In the neighboring cities of Shreveport and Bossier City, the Red River flooded for the first time in twenty-five years and rose to levels not experienced since 1945. Considerable residential and commercial development has taken place inside the Red River Levee System since the previous flood in 1990, which likely contributed to significant economic and societal impacts in Northwest Louisiana. This presentation provides a brief overview of the meteorological conditions that led to the flooding, and discusses the communication and impacts of the forecasts on decision makers and the general public.
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