Tropical Storm Ida gives CI-FLOW research opportunity

Tropical Storm Ida gave the Coastal and Inland – Flooding Observation and Warning project (CI-FLOW) team a valuable research opportunity this week to demonstrate, in real-time, the capability to use NSSL’s real-time gridded quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE) in the CI-FLOW river models.

NSSL is leading CI-FLOW, an interdisciplinary multi-institutional team working to combine existing monitoring technology and new techniques to forecast and warn of coastal storm effects such as heavy rainfall, storm surge, and the subsequent river conditions in coastal North Carolina.  CI-FLOW will ultimately provide a total water-level product for any location in the watershed.

For this demonstration, the newly developed CI-FLOW computing environment collected hourly multi-sensor quantitative precipitation estimates from the NSSL Q2 system ( and gridded quantitative precipitation forecast products from NOAA’s Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC).  The data was fed into one of two CIFLOW models, the NWS HL-RDHM (Hydrologic Laboratory Research Distributed Hydrologic Model), to generate 10-day forecasts of streamflow from multiple points in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River basins.

CI-FLOW also tested NOAA nowCOAST ( CIFLOW visualization capabilities, supported by NOAA Southeastern- Caribbean Regional Team (SECART) funding, to explore how data can be displayed for stakeholder outreach by NOAA SeaGrant and NWS offices as well as internally for science assessments by CI-FLOW team members.

As CIFLOW closes out the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, CIFLOW partners will continue to leverage a NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) research effort to stabilize the Advanced Circulation model (ADCIRC) grid to accommodate inland rivers and bays in the North Carolina tidal zones.  This will allow CIFLOW to complete a demonstration of the CIFLOW coupled model system to produce simulations of total water level for the lower portions of the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers and coastline of the Pamlico Sound using past storm events including Hurricane Isabel.

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