85th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 10 January 2005
A Pilot Program for a Low Flow Impacts Database at the National Weather Service
Cody L. Knutson, National Drought Mitigation Center, Lincoln, NE; and M. Svoboda and D. R. Kluck
Poster PDF (27.1 kB)
A Pilot Program for a Low Flow/Stage Impacts Database at the National Weather Service

Cody L. Knutson, NDMC, Lincoln, NE 68583, Mark D. Svoboda, and Doug R. Kluck.

Monitoring the stage and flow or rivers and streams is critically important for ensuring the well-being of riparian ecosystems and human activities that rely on these water systems, especially during times of flooding and drought. With the invention of systematic forecasting tools, which have improved the prediction of flooding and water supply, immense progress has been made in providing early warning information for hazard mitigation and response.

The National Weather Service Advanced Prediction Service (AHPS) currently provides river flow/stage and forecast information at more than 4,000 forecast points across the United States. Along with this information, AHPS describes potential flood impacts which may occur within the upstream and downstream influence of the forecasts points. However, similar information is not available for low flow events. In order to incorporate low flow information into the current AHPS river forecast database, the National Weather Service has undertaken a pilot study to obtain relevant low flow impact information near 21 forecast points in the Upper Mississippi River Basin in Minnesota.

The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) was contracted to obtain low flow impact information within the study area. This study, conducted from April through August of 2004, yielded a variety of potential low-flow impacts in the region. The impact information will be used to establish critical low flow and stage determinations for each forecast point, and incorporated into the AHPS database. Identifying this type of local impact information allows local regions, states, and federal interests to better understand their vulnerabilities, and better prepare for and respond to potentially hazardous situations. Additional studies have been proposed to expand this pilot project in the Upper Missouri River Basin, including portions of Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.

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