Developing an Improved Flood Prediction System

Photo credit Colorado Department of Transportation, 2013 Colorado Flood.


Current flood and river flow prediction systems are based on algorithms that focus on statistical relationships between historical weather conditions and river flow levels measured at observations sites. This means that little information is known about the water flow and flood conditions where sensors do not exist.  New capabilities are required that factor in all the effects of the water cycle and can provide information in between sensor sites.


WRF-Hydro System

Hydrometeorological research has led to the development of an advanced hydrologic prediction system called WRF-HYDRO. WRF-Hydro system was originally designed as a framework designed to facilitate easier coupling between the Weather Research and Forecasting model and components of terrestrial hydrological models. WRF-Hydro is both a stand-alone hydrological modeling architecture as well as a coupling architecture for coupling of hydrological models with atmospheric models.  It includes a multi-scale functionality to permit modeling of atmospheric, land surface and hydrological processes on different spatial grids.


This framework is viewed as the future national water prediction system by the National Water Center and the WRF-Hydro system is being adopted by the National Weather Service and will become operational in 2016.