Flash floods: research, forecast models, observations
Flash floods remain one of the deadliest weather-related natural hazards worldwide. They pose challenges to numerical weather prediction and hydrologic forecast models. The swiftness of their onset and subsequent retreat make them difficult even to observe. The Flooded Locations And Simulated Hydrographs (FLASH) project was launched in 2013 with the aim to improve understanding of flash floods and to ultimately transform the tools used to forecast them in the National Weather Service (NWS). This presentation will highlight the significant research findings regarding the spatio-temporal characteristics of flash floods throughout the U.S., their moisture sources, and the circumstances that lead to fatalities. The FLASH system will be described and then evaluated using individual case studies and 33,726 events on USGS-gauged basins. The use of FLASH system during Hurricane Harvey will also be presented. While FLASH rapidly evolved the tools in the NWS, challenges remain in flash flood forecasting. The talk will conclude with novel ideas for improving observations of heavy rainfall and flash floods.
Dr. Gourley received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Meteorology and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from OU. He is a Research Hydrologist with the NOAA/NSSL and an Affiliate Associate Professor with the SoM and School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at OU. His primary research interests are in storm-scale hydrometeorology and development of models to forecast hydrologic phenomena. He has been awarded the Department of Commerce Bronze and two Silver Medals, and is recipient of NASA’s Group Achievement and Robert H. Goddard Team awards for his contributions to the algorithms comprising the Global Precipitation Measurement mission. Dr. Gourley manages an interdisciplinary team that is responsible for the research, development, and transition of contemporary software to the NWS for operational flash flood monitoring and prediction.