How NOAA uses R to forecast river flooding.

April 16, 2012
39 Views

Thanks to the lower-than-usual snowfall over most of the US this past winter, there’s low risk of major flooding as the snow melts this Spring (for the first time in four years!). Nonetheless, being able to forecast river flood events is of critical importance to local emergency managers, water & electric utilities, river navigation companies, and the US Army Corps of Engineers — not to mention residents in flood-prone areas.

Thanks to the lower-than-usual snowfall over most of the US this past winter, there’s low risk of major flooding as the snow melts this Spring (for the first time in four years!). Nonetheless, being able to forecast river flood events is of critical importance to local emergency managers, water & electric utilities, river navigation companies, and the US Army Corps of Engineers — not to mention residents in flood-prone areas. That’s why the National Weather Service (a division of NOAA) is charged with forecasting flood risk throughout the United States.

As noted by Tom Adams, Development & Operations Hydrologist for the NWS’s Ohio River Forecast Center, R is currently used at 3 out of 13 River Forecast Centers to generate graphics representing real-time hydrologic ensemble (probabilistic) forecasts. (Five additional regions are expected to also use R later this year.) For example, here’s a recent analysis showing that Clay City on Illinois’ Little Wabash River has a small risk of minor flooding in the next couple of weeks:

Clay city IL
R is also used for research and development at NWS for forecast verification and analyses for the calibration of distributed hydrologic models. You can see these models in action for the NWS’s Eastern Region by exploring the interactive maps at the link below.

National Weather Service: NWS Experimental Short-term Hydrologic Ensembles (MMEFS)

You may be interested

The Role Big Data Plays in Influencer Marketing
Big Data
69 shares1,709 views
Big Data
69 shares1,709 views

The Role Big Data Plays in Influencer Marketing

Ryan Kh - June 26, 2017

Influencer marketing is the leading way in which brands can get noticed. Big data is also one of the leading…

Experts Debate: Is Big Data a Boon or Risk for Actuaries?
Big Data
49 shares846 views
Big Data
49 shares846 views

Experts Debate: Is Big Data a Boon or Risk for Actuaries?

Annie Qureshi - June 26, 2017

Banks, insurance companies and other firms in the financial sector have relied extensively on big data for decades. Over the…

Big Data: A Hidden Blessing or Increased Vulnerability for the Security of IT Systems?
Big Data
40 shares982 views
Big Data
40 shares982 views

Big Data: A Hidden Blessing or Increased Vulnerability for the Security of IT Systems?

Diana Hope - June 26, 2017

For many companies that are not equipped to handle it, it seems like a real handful; yet for most, big…