An Overview of the Performance and Operational Applications of the MRMS and FLASH Systems in Recent Significant Urban Flash Flood Events

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  • 1 NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 University of Oklahoma/Cooperative Institute of Mesoscale Meteorological Studies and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 3 NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 4 NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 5 NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

The Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) system is an operational, state-of-the-science hydrometeorological data analysis and nowcasting framework that combines data from multiple radar networks, satellites, surface observational systems, and numerical weather prediction models to produce a suite of real-time, decision-support products every two minutes over the contiguous United States and southern Canada. The Flooded Locations and Simulated Hydrograph (FLASH) component of the MRMS system was designed for the monitoring and prediction of flash floods across small time and spatial scales required for urban areas given their rapid hydrologic response to precipitation. Developed at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in collaboration with the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) and other research entities, the objective for MRMS and FLASH is to be the world’s most advanced system for severe weather and storm-scale hydrometeorology, leveraging the latest science and observation systems to produce the most accurate and reliable hydrometeorological and severe weather analyses. NWS forecasters, the public and the private sector utilize a variety of products from the MRMS and FLASH systems for hydrometeorological situational awareness and to provide warnings to the public and other users about potential impacts from flash flooding. This article will examine the performance of hydrometeorological products from MRMS and FLASH, and provide perspectives on how NWS forecasters use these products in the prediction of flash flood events with an emphasis on the urban environment.

Corresponding Author Address: Alan Gerard, National Severe Storms Laboratory/Warning Research and Development Division, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: Alan.E.Gerard@noaa.gov.

Abstract

The Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) system is an operational, state-of-the-science hydrometeorological data analysis and nowcasting framework that combines data from multiple radar networks, satellites, surface observational systems, and numerical weather prediction models to produce a suite of real-time, decision-support products every two minutes over the contiguous United States and southern Canada. The Flooded Locations and Simulated Hydrograph (FLASH) component of the MRMS system was designed for the monitoring and prediction of flash floods across small time and spatial scales required for urban areas given their rapid hydrologic response to precipitation. Developed at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in collaboration with the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) and other research entities, the objective for MRMS and FLASH is to be the world’s most advanced system for severe weather and storm-scale hydrometeorology, leveraging the latest science and observation systems to produce the most accurate and reliable hydrometeorological and severe weather analyses. NWS forecasters, the public and the private sector utilize a variety of products from the MRMS and FLASH systems for hydrometeorological situational awareness and to provide warnings to the public and other users about potential impacts from flash flooding. This article will examine the performance of hydrometeorological products from MRMS and FLASH, and provide perspectives on how NWS forecasters use these products in the prediction of flash flood events with an emphasis on the urban environment.

Corresponding Author Address: Alan Gerard, National Severe Storms Laboratory/Warning Research and Development Division, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: Alan.E.Gerard@noaa.gov.
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