6.2 Grappling with Harvey’s Extreme Rainfall (Invited Presentation)

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 1:45 PM
Ballroom D (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
David Novak, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, College Park, MD; and G. W. Carbin

Both the magnitude and breadth of Harvey’s extreme rainfall was unique in modern U.S. rainfall history. Five day rainfall totals from Harvey exceeded an astounding 50 inches over the upper-Texas coast, with extreme rainfall rates exceeding 5” an hour observed in the Houston area the night of August 26-27 and in the Beaumont-Port Author area the night of August 28-29.

When model forecasts of Hurricane Harvey showed the system stalling over Texas, meteorologists knew it would be bad. And it turns out the model and human forecasts were right. But could one really believe the prodigious amounts of rainfall numerical weather guidance was showing? And if so, how would this translate into impacts? How does one communicate such extremes to decision makers? This talk will explore the extreme facets of Harvey’s rainfall and how these forecast questions were addressed in real-time during the historic event.

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