CI-FLOW launches Facebook and Twitter pages

The Coastal and Inland FLooding Observation and Warning project has launched a Facebook page and a Twitter site in an effort to make CI-FLOW research more visible to stakeholders and the public.

The Coastal and Inland-Flooding Observation and Warning (CI-FLOW) project is a prototype system combining observations, weather and water models and decision support tools to help bridge the gap and predict total water levels in coastal areas. When the demonstration is complete, everyone from emergency management officials to coastal residents will be able to use CI-FLOW to make informed decisions.

Coastal areas are especially vulnerable to flooding from hurricanes, tropical storms and other hazardous weather. The effects of this extra water on waves, tides, river flows and storm surge have been unpredictable, until now.

The CI-FLOW project has brought together a diverse team of national,  regional, state and university partners to improve the quality of  flood and surge information from every angle.

CI-FLOW currently focuses on the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River basins of North Carolina and the adjacent coastal waters and shorelines of the Pamlico Sound and Atlantic Ocean. Storm-surge and coastal flooding from Hurricanes Floyd and Dennis devastated this region in 1999. A broad spectrum of local, state, regional, academic and federal partners are working together on CI-FLOW to improve total water level forecasts in this area.

Over half our nation’s population now lives permanently in coastal zones. Research projects like CI-FLOW will make great strides towards increasing warning times and improving predictions to save lives and limit property damage.

Follow our research at CI-FLOW Facebook or CI_FLOW Twitter!

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NSSL scientists present work at AMS Severe Local Storms meeting

2010 Severe Local Storms Conference in Denver

NSSL scientists presented current research at the American Meteorological Society’s Severe Local Storms Conference Oct. 11-14 in Denver Colo.

Research from the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2009-2010 (VORTEX2) was a highlight with a special overview session held the first evening.   Other VORTEX2 presentations and posters included tornado events seen by mobile radars during the project, storm structure and decay processes, a survey of particle probe measurements, and a report on the VORTEX2 operations center.  VORTEX2 Principal Investigators and teams met at the end of the week to share their best cases and coordinate working with the data.

Presentations on the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed included an update on the 2010 Experimental Warning Program real-time severe storm warning exercises, the use of lightning data, and a comparison of Storm Data reports to National Weather Service severe storm watches and warnings.  Posters highlighted new techniques for hail detection and improved instrumentation for mobile weather observations.

Other topics presented include an analysis of tornado fatalities, the state of the science on climate change and severe weather, analysis of a tornadic supercell sampled by National Weather Radar Testbed Phased Array Radar and the current weather radar, high-resolution storm-scale numerical weather prediction and the future of severe storm forecasting.

A first place award for first time presenters went to Sean Waugh, University of Oklahoma student and Sherman Frederickson, NSSL Engineer for their poster on a creative new design for measuring temperature more accurately for the mobile mesonets.

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NSSL engineer named NOAA Employee of the Month

Allen Zahrai
NOAA September Employee of the Month!

NSSL lead electrical and electronics engineer Allen Zahrai has been named the NOAA-wide September 2010 Employee of the month.

Zahrai is in charge of building, upgrading and maintaining NSSL’s research weather radar systems.

Over the last 18 months, Zahrai has led team efforts in the development of mobile, dual-polarized weather radars and improvements to the National Weather Radar Testbed Phased Array. Zahrai’s outstanding work has lead to the deployment of an X-Band dual-polarized mobile weather radar that has been used over the last several months for studies to improve precipitation measurements, support the 2010 Winter Olympics and the VORTEX-2 field experiment, and to study bats, micro-bursts, and the Southwest Monsoon in Arizona. Zahrai’s team not only designed, integrated and built this radar system, but it was also responsible for maintaining it while it was deployed in various field programs.

Zahrai worked on NSSL’s first research Doppler radar and helped develop the color displays that replaced black and white. He also helped convert the Cimarron research radar to dual-polarization, and received a Department of Commerce Bronze medal for his work.

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National Weather Festival coming!


Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

National Weather Center, 120 David L Boren Blvd.
(corner of Hwy. 9 and Jenkins Ave.)
Norman, OK

The annual National Weather Festival highlights the many weather related organizations and activities in central Oklahoma. This unique event features hourly weather balloon launches, children’s activities, storm research vehicle displays, amateur radio demonstrations, a Storm Chaser Car Show and weather related information and products. Visitors can view the National Weather Center’s premier facilities including National Weather Service forecast operation areas.

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NSSL project now collects unique flash flood reports from the public

Oklahoma City flooding

Flash floods are the number one hazardous weather-related killer in the US, yet they remain poorly observed.   An NSSL project now collects data from the public on flash flooding, in addition to hail and win

d reports.  This effort is creating a comprehensive database that will lead to the development of better tools to identify regions being impacted or about to be impacted by hazardous weather.

An article on the flash flood data collection success is currently in press in the Journal of Hydrology.

Since 2006, NSSL’s Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment (SHAVE) has conducted phone surveys of residents along the path of a target storm.  People who answer the calls are asked about hail size and wind damage that occurred during the past 60 minutes. The addition of the collection of witness reports on flash floods was added in 2008.  Data from the survey responses are used to evaluate flash flood forecasts from radar information and hydrologic model outputs.

The SHAVE flash flood reports supplement the operational NWS database because they are higher in density and contain additional information such as “no flooding” reports, “minor” impacts from flash flooding, floodwater depths, lateral extents of flooded streams, road closures, respondent estimated flood frequencies, evacuations, and rescues.

The combined datasets will lead to flash flood climatology maps, improved understanding of rainfall-runoff processes that cause flash floods, and the ability to evaluate and improve tools used to detect and predict flash floods.

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NSSL technology helps American Red Cross respond faster

A family of six was in this home when an EF4 tornado struck

Faster responses to weather emergencies are now possible as a result of a partnership between the American Red Cross and NSSL. The American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma is using a suite of tools developed by NSSL to revolutionize the disaster assessment process following severe weather.

The NSSL experimental system, Warning Decision Support System – Integrated Information (WDSS-II), integrates all the current observational data so that warning forecasters and decision-makers of all types have the best possible information available to make decisions when it comes to severe weather threats, according to Doug Forsyth, chief of NSSL’s Radar Research and Development Division.

The system receives data in real-time from the nationwide networks of weather radars, satellites, surface observations and lightning detectors. WDSS-II then processes, analyzes and displays the data in a way that is useful to people who need to diagnose severe weather quickly.

“The NSSL application helped us tremendously with the delivery of goods and services to our community following the May 10th and 19th tornadoes,” said Steve Klapp, Disaster Assessment Lead for the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, who is training other American Red Cross Chapters in the state. “This technology cut our disaster assessment time down from 72 to 24 hours.”

Another part of WDSS-II used by the American Red Cross is the On-Demand Severe Weather Verification System, a web-based tool that can be used to help confirm when and where severe weather occurred.  The system uses data gathered and sorted by WDSS-II to estimate the tracks of rotating storms and where hail fell.  The hail swath or rotation track data can be overlaid on high-resolution street maps in Google Earth/Maps to pinpoint areas affected by the hazardous weather.

“Disaster assessment drives the bus and NSSL has supercharged our bus motor!” Klapp said. The NSSL application training taking place this month will help local and community chapters by providing them the technology and skills to speed up their service delivery to clients in rural Oklahoma following a tornado event, Klapp added.

““NOAA and the Red Cross have similar goals in providing the best possible service to the public during severe weather events,” Forsyth said. “This is a great example of how new technology is improving these services.”

WDSS-II products are available online at

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