8.4 Extreme Precipitation Forecasting Tools in AWIPS

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 11:15 AM
Room 17A (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Diana R. Stovern, CIRES, Boulder, CO; and J. A. Nelson Jr., M. Klein, S. Czyzyk, K. Landry, and J. W. Zeitler

Flood-producing heavy rain events are one of the costliest natural disasters to impact the United States. Increased storm frequency as well as population increase in flood-prone regions are expected to amplify the costs and devastation accrued by future events. In order to reduce damaging impacts to life and property, operational forecasters need more sophisticated tools and datasets to help communicate the risk and uncertainty to emergency managers for effective decision support. Recognizing this need, the Weather Prediction Center (WPC), along with a team of NWS Science and Operation Officers, worked together to create a set of forecasting tools designed to improve situational awareness and decision support services prior to a heavy rain event.

The Extreme Precipitation Forecasting Table (EPFT) was the first tool developed and released for AWIPS by WPC. It is currently available to all NWS Weather Forecast Offices, Regional Headquarters, and River Forecast Centers within the contiguous United States. The EPFT compares Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPFs) to Average Recurrence Intervals, primarily from the NOAA Atlas 14, to highlight where climatologically significant and potential flood-producing rainfall could occur. Feedback from meteorologists and hydrologists in the field have led to improvements in the EPFT and the creation of additional heavy rain assessment tools in AWIPS. This presentation will give an overview of recent developments made to the EPFT, which include the addition of probabilistic information, flash-flood guidance, and improved visualization features, along with a demonstration of how these tools were used by operational forecasters during a May 2017 heavy rain/snow event in Boulder, Colorado.

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