2002 Annual

Monday, 14 January 2002: 11:15 AM
Implementation Status of the Nicaragua River Forecast System
James A. McNitt, Computer Sciences Corp., Lanham, MD
During the period April 2000 through December 2001 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) implemented the National Weather Service (NWS) River Forecast System in Nicaragua. CSC served as systems integrator to the NWS (a line office of NOAA) for the Hurricane Mitch reconstruction effort in Nicaragua and El Salvador. The NWS River Forecast System (NWSRFS) is a software system used by NWS River Forecast Centers to provide river forecasts and flooding potential to NWS Weather Forecast Offices. The NOAA - CSC team ported this software from UNIX to Windows 2000 and implemented the system on personal computer workstations in Managua, Nicaragua.

This presentation describes the implementation of the NWSRFS at the new Nicaraguan River Forecast Center in Managua, Nicaragua. The NOAA- CSC team worked closely with the Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) staff to assure that the INETER staff members are qualified to operate the system. The system is now known as the Nicaragua River Forecast System.

After Hurricane Mitch the NWS conducted an initial assessment of the Government of Nicaragua national capability to observe and forecast hydrological and meteorological events. Working together the NWS and INETER agreed that the NWSRFS implementation efforts should focus on the Rio Escondido basin. During calendar year 2000 the NWS brought the CSC Team on board. The CSC team started implementing the hydro-meteorological observation network and completed the NRFS design effort. The NRFS design effort resulted in a decision to create the first ever Windows 2000 version of NWSRFS. During the second year of the project CSC implemented the NRFS, completed the calibration process for the Rio Escondido, and completed forecaster and systems administration training.

The NRFS implementation approach included the following activities:

∑ Develop and document system design ∑ Implement batch subsystem ∑ Implement NWSRFS Graphical User Interface (GUI) subsystem ∑ Implement local operational applications ∑ Data recovery ∑ Configure Operations Table ∑ Implement database management subsystem ∑ Calibrate NRFS ∑ Conduct training

Training is integrated throughout the implementation process. The INETER staff gained valuable experience by using the NRFS during the rainy season of year 2001. The INETER staff members working in the Nicaraguan River Forecast Center have learned the procedures for generating river forecasts and flood warning products.

INETERís effort to establish the Nicaraguan River Forecast Center is significant because it represents an understanding of the need for meteorologists and hydrologists to work together in an operational center to generate forecast guidance in support of flood warnings. The NOAA-CSC team is providing Nicaragua the tools and the training required to mitigate the losses associated with severe weather events such as Hurricane Mitch.

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