11.2 Summary of DSS and Lessons Learned during the May 2015 Flooding in Texas

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 12:00 AM
Room 255/257 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Brian R. Hoeth, NOAA/NWS, Fort Worth, TX; and K. M. Van Speybroeck, J. McNatt, M. Wiley, G. Waller, D. Giardino, T. Clark, and J. Johnson

During the month of May 2015, historic flash flooding and river flooding took place in the Southern Plains. This activity led to major disaster declarations in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana when all was said and done. This presentation will focus on the flooding that occurred throughout the state of Texas, including along the Red River in northern portions of the state, the Dallas-metro area, Austin, Houston and Corpus Christi, all areas that saw significant damage or loss of life during the month.

We will also discuss the support provided by Weather Forecast Offices (WFO), River Forecast Centers (RFC), and the Southern Region Regional Operations Center (SR ROC) to the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). Support to a state like Texas, which is covered by 13 WFOs and 3 RFCs, is a large task, but one that has been refined and organized over the past several years with the goal of providing one weather and water picture to state officials.

Several best practices were identified during the May event, such as: • The production of a flood wave map (depicting timing and height of the flood wave as it travels downstream) • Daily coordination calls between the NWS, TDEM, US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Geological Survey and appropriate River Authorities • The importance of deploying to a State Operations Center with both meteorological and hydrological support • The benefit of using probabilistic QPF and hydrological information when conveying uncertainty and “worst case scenarios” to state partners

There were also several lessons learned or action items as well, such as: • The need for increased inundation mapping • The necessity of properly conveying threats/impacts during river flood situations

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