Extreme Data Collection—The Arizona Experience

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Thursday, 2 February 2006: 12:00 PM
Extreme Data Collection—The Arizona Experience
A411 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Anton F. Haffer, NOAA/NWSFO, Phoenix, AZ

Presentation PDF (321.3 kB)

While the Mississippi River received continual headlines during the spring of 1993, Arizona experienced a more significant flood event that went unnoticed outside the state. The aftermath of that Arizona flood brought a mandate from the Governor to improve communications among state and federal agencies during extreme flood events. The result of the mandate was the evolution of the Arizona Flood Warning System (AFWS).

While for much of the last decade, Arizona and much of the West has been gripped by serious drought conditions that resulted in little acclaim for the AFWS. The heart of the development of the AFWS was the partnering among 23 federal, state, and local agencies to develop a communications network designed to share critical hydrometeorological data in real time among those agencies, and to provide key decision makers with sufficient information to make the best hydrometeorological decisions possible. The designers of the AFWS recognized that the same hydrometeorological data monitored for flood episodes would be equally critical for monitoring drought conditions. With this in mind, the AFWS interagency committee has set its sights on restructuring the emphasis of the AFWS to become a decision management and information system that focuses on the monitoring and display of hydrometeorological data for extreme weather events, like floods and droughts. The committee believes such an effort would not only build on its existing partnerships, but also support collaborative research to ensure further development and implementation of a comprehensive framework for the delivery of water resources information to the residents of Arizona.

This paper will describe the evolution of AFWS and illustrate some of its more significant data collection and graphical display features. It will also demonstrate how the AFWS and much of its infrastructure could serve as a prototypical foundation for the National Integrated Data Information System (NIDIS).