A Unified Flash Flood Database across the United States

Jonathan J. Gourley NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

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Yang Hong Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, and Atmospheric Radar Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Zachary L. Flamig NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, and Atmospheric Radar Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Ami Arthur NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Robert Clark NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Atmospheric Radar Research Center, University of Oklahoma, and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Martin Calianno Laboratoire d'étude des Transferts en Hydrologie et Environnement, Grenoble, France

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Isabelle Ruin Laboratoire d'étude des Transferts en Hydrologie et Environnement, Grenoble, France

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Terry Ortel United States Geologic Survey, Illinois Water Science Center, Urbana, Illinois

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Michael E. Wieczorek United States Geologic Survey, Maryland–DE–DC Water Science Center, Baltimore, Maryland

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Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, and Atmospheric Radar Research Center, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Edward Clark National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services, Silver Spring, Maryland

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Witold F. Krajewski IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

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Despite flash flooding being one of the most deadly and costly weather-related natural hazards worldwide, individual datasets to characterize them in the United States are hampered by limited documentation and can be difficult to access. This study is the first of its kind to assemble, reprocess, describe, and disseminate a georeferenced U.S. database providing a long-term, detailed characterization of flash flooding in terms of spatiotemporal behavior and specificity of impacts. The database is composed of three primary sources: 1) the entire archive of automated discharge observations from the U.S. Geological Survey that has been reprocessed to describe individual flooding events, 2) flash-flooding reports collected by the National Weather Service from 2006 to the present, and 3) witness reports obtained directly from the public in the Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment during the summers 2008–10. Each observational data source has limitations; a major asset of the unified flash flood database is its collation of relevant information from a variety of sources that is now readily available to the community in common formats. It is anticipated that this database will be used for many diverse purposes, such as evaluating tools to predict flash flooding, characterizing seasonal and regional trends, and improving understanding of dominant flood-producing processes. We envision the initiation of this community database effort will attract and encompass future datasets.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Jonathan J. Gourley, National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd, Norman, OK 73072-7303, E-mail: jj.gourley@noaa.gov

Despite flash flooding being one of the most deadly and costly weather-related natural hazards worldwide, individual datasets to characterize them in the United States are hampered by limited documentation and can be difficult to access. This study is the first of its kind to assemble, reprocess, describe, and disseminate a georeferenced U.S. database providing a long-term, detailed characterization of flash flooding in terms of spatiotemporal behavior and specificity of impacts. The database is composed of three primary sources: 1) the entire archive of automated discharge observations from the U.S. Geological Survey that has been reprocessed to describe individual flooding events, 2) flash-flooding reports collected by the National Weather Service from 2006 to the present, and 3) witness reports obtained directly from the public in the Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment during the summers 2008–10. Each observational data source has limitations; a major asset of the unified flash flood database is its collation of relevant information from a variety of sources that is now readily available to the community in common formats. It is anticipated that this database will be used for many diverse purposes, such as evaluating tools to predict flash flooding, characterizing seasonal and regional trends, and improving understanding of dominant flood-producing processes. We envision the initiation of this community database effort will attract and encompass future datasets.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Jonathan J. Gourley, National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd, Norman, OK 73072-7303, E-mail: jj.gourley@noaa.gov
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