86 Critical Forecast Elements for Recent Southeast Texas Flood Events

Monday, 23 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Lance Wood, NOAA, Dickinson, TX; and D. Reilly

Southeast Texas experienced 3 warm season extreme rainfall events during the May 2015 through May 2016 period which produced devastating flash flooding and 20 fatalities.  In advance of each of these events, forecasters identified the threat of excessive rainfall,  which prompted the issuance of flash flood watches.  However, pinpointing the magnitude, duration, and location of the extreme rainfall proved to be challenging.  Decision makers need temporally and spatially accurate forecasts of localized rainfall maxima, in order to appropriately staff Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) and to pre-stage resources such as swift water rescue teams, high water vehicles, and barricades. These actions are especially critical in urban areas where millions of people can quickly be adverly affected, often resulting in numerous high water rescues.    

This presentation will provide an overview of each event, including a comparison and contrast of the mesoscale environments. We will identify what forecast elements are most critical for accurate rainfall forecasts in these extreme cases. We will examine the ability of high resultion model solutions to resolve these elements, as well as their overall representation of the evoultion, structure, timing, and duration of each of these convective events.    

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