913 The Record Sabine River Flood of 2016 In Review

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Washington State Convention Center
Timothy W. Humphrey, NOAA/NWSFO, Lake Charles, LA; and J. R. Brazzell, A. R. Patrick, and R. Erickson

A cut off upper low over West Texas, an anomalous atmospheric river and a stalled frontal boundary over Southeast Texas combined to produce torrential rainfall during 8-12 March 2016 across the basin of the Sabine River. Some of the highest rainfall totals occurred at the Toledo Bend Dam with 15 to 20 inches of rainfall common over the reservoir. This elevated the pool height to a record observation of 174.36 feet which was over one foot higher than the previous record in 1989. Downstream of the reservoir, a flood of record occurred along the Sabine River contributing to the second billion dollar weather related disaster of 2016 in the United States. The combination of collaboration between multiple forecast offices and provision of impact-based decision support services (IDSS) to partners and stakeholders contributed to no lives being lost as a result of the record flooding. Online briefings and social media posts allowed for quick dissemination of forecast and preparedness information to the public. Additionally, two meteorologists deployed to emergency operations centers and provided forecast guidance to emergency managers coordinating flood response efforts. Challenges which arose during the event, lessons learned, and success stories will be discussed.
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