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Precipitation Forecasting Using a Neural Network

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  • 1 NOAA/NWS West Gulf River Forecast Center, Fort Worth, Texas
  • | 2 NOAA/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

A neural network, using input from the Eta Model and upper air soundings, has been developed for the probability of precipitation (PoP) and quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) for the Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, area. Forecasts from two years were verified against a network of 36 rain gauges. The resulting forecasts were remarkably sharp, with over 70% of the PoP forecasts being less than 5% or greater than 95%. Of the 436 days with forecasts of less than 5% PoP, no rain occurred on 435 days. On the 111 days with forecasts of greater than 95% PoP, rain always occurred. The linear correlation between the forecast and observed precipitation amount was 0.95. Equitable threat scores for threshold precipitation amounts from 0.05 in. (∼1 mm) to 1 in. (∼25 mm) are 0.63 or higher, with maximum values over 0.86. Combining the PoP and QPF products indicates that for very high PoPs, the correlation between the QPF and observations is higher than for lower PoPs. In addition, 61 of the 70 observed rains of at least 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) are associated with PoPs greater than 85%. As a result, the system indicates a potential for more accurate precipitation forecasting.

* Current affiliation: NOAA/NWS Forecast Office Jackson, Jackson, Kentucky.

Corresponding author address: Harold E. Brooks, NOAA/NSSL, 1313 Halley Circle, Norman, OK 73069.

Email: Harold.Brooks@noaa.gov

Abstract

A neural network, using input from the Eta Model and upper air soundings, has been developed for the probability of precipitation (PoP) and quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) for the Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, area. Forecasts from two years were verified against a network of 36 rain gauges. The resulting forecasts were remarkably sharp, with over 70% of the PoP forecasts being less than 5% or greater than 95%. Of the 436 days with forecasts of less than 5% PoP, no rain occurred on 435 days. On the 111 days with forecasts of greater than 95% PoP, rain always occurred. The linear correlation between the forecast and observed precipitation amount was 0.95. Equitable threat scores for threshold precipitation amounts from 0.05 in. (∼1 mm) to 1 in. (∼25 mm) are 0.63 or higher, with maximum values over 0.86. Combining the PoP and QPF products indicates that for very high PoPs, the correlation between the QPF and observations is higher than for lower PoPs. In addition, 61 of the 70 observed rains of at least 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) are associated with PoPs greater than 85%. As a result, the system indicates a potential for more accurate precipitation forecasting.

* Current affiliation: NOAA/NWS Forecast Office Jackson, Jackson, Kentucky.

Corresponding author address: Harold E. Brooks, NOAA/NSSL, 1313 Halley Circle, Norman, OK 73069.

Email: Harold.Brooks@noaa.gov

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