ArcGIS Tools for Preparing WRF-Hydro Routing Grids

WRF-Hydro GIS Pre-processing Toolkit v5.2

To help WRF-Hydro users create surface input data for WRF-Hydro we have created a set of tools. Presently these tools consist of scripts for use with the ArcGIS Geographical Information System. This is a stand-alone set of scripts which ArcGIS users can install and run locally on their own systems. ArcGIS is a commercial software product available from ESRI.
The purpose of the WRF Hydro GIS Pre-Processing Toolkit is to create the data layers for terrestrial overland flow, subsurface flow and channel routing processes required by WRF Hydro. The outputs from these tools are geospatial and tabular data layers for use with WRF-Hydro model code V5.1.x. This processing workflow for creating WRF-Hydro routing grids is available to users as an ArcGIS Python Toolbox.
The input files created by this toolkit should not be deemed as definitive and accurate for every application. Preparation of hydrologic network data (such as channel networks and station data) is inherently an iterative process fraught with geospatial data uncertainties. Therefore we encourage users to closely examine the outputs from the tools provided here and make their own necessary adjustments.
Version & Date
WRF-Hydro V5.2, V5.1.1, V5.0.x

NOTE: There are often bug fixes that are addressed in between public releases.

If you are having difficulty with the public release you might check the current development branch of the WRF-Hydro GIS Pre-processing Toolkit. Also, note that we generally do not provide full support for the tool in between releases. 


Development of capabilities related to the WRF-Hydro GIS pre-processing tools has been geared toward using the capabilities of the ArcGIS Python API (arcpy). This has allowed us to build a single, flexible toolset that can be run from a GUI within a desktop GIS environment. Many users have requested an open-source alternative, with QGIS is the obvious choice. However, at this time QGIS has a variety of issues when it comes to displaying and properly georeferincing netCDF data (our primary data format).

Why am I getting an error using the GIS Pre-processing tool?

The WRF-Hydro GIS Preprocessing Tool is compatible with Arc GIS version 10.3.1 and above as well as ArcGIS Pro. Please check the following:

  1. Do you have a valid version of ArcGIS? Illigitimate versions tend to show locks even when everything else is set up correctly
  2. Do you have Spatial Analyst Extension enabled? Enable Spatial Analyst by selecting Customize > Extensions from within ArcCatalog and make sure that the Spatial Analyst is checked on.
  3. Are you writing your files to a geodatabase or network location? This is not allowed by ArcGIS. Specify that your output file goes to a directory on disk which exists (not a geodatabase or network location).
  4. Check your installation: It helps to have 64-bit Background Geoprocessing module installed, and Background Geoprocessing enabled.
  5. Check that your directory names and/or file names do not have spaces or special characters in them.


Please direct questions/comments about this page to:

WRF-Hydro Support