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Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center
 
 

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The MARFC HAS Program


The Hydrometeorological Analysis and Support (HAS) program began at MARFC in 1993. MARFC has three HAS forecasters, covering the function seven days a week. The responsibility of the HAS forecaster is to ensure quality meteorological input for the river forecast model and to act as the primary coordination interface between RFC and NWSFO/NWSO. Meteorological input for the river forecast model involves both observed and forecast parameters such as precipitation amount, water equivalent of snow, temperatures and quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPF).

Specific duties required to meet the responsibilities of the HAS function are:

Routine and real-time quality control of observed precipitation reports:

HAS forecasters use their knowledge of precipitation gauges to realize when under/over estimations of precipitation amounts are likely, and alert Service Hydrologists and the USGS when gauge outages are noted and maintenance is recommended. HAS forecasters use reports from surrounding stations to verify gauge readings.

WSR-88D Focal Point:

This involves setting up User Functions to obtain products from 13 WSR-88D sites in the MARFC area, displaying these products in the RFC operations area for use by the river forecasters, analyzing the products, especially the radar precipitation estimates, to adjust QPF for timing and/or amount. Frequent monitoring of radar products has helped HAS forecasters alert meteorologists at NWSFOs/NWSOs to areas of concern for flash flooding on many occasions.

Coordination:

At the MARFC, the HAS forecasters maintain contacts with QPF forecasters, Service Hydrologists, NWS Radar sites, USGS, COE, SRBC (Susquehanna River Basin Commission), DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission), helping to interpret RFC products for these users, and working with these people to provide hydrometeorological support to both the RFC and NWSFO/NWSO.

Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts:

HAS Forecasters are responsible for a coordinated, meteorologically sound product. With six NWSFOs supplying QPF to MARFC, the HAS makes sure forecasts from neighboring NWSFOs show a smooth transition. HAS forecasters also initiate requests for more frequent QPF updates during flood events, and work with QPF forecasters and hydrologists to run contingency forecasts prior to suspect events so that proper staffing levels at NWS offices can be assured.

Data Displays:

In order to support RFC and NWSFO/NWSO operations, the HAS forecasters produce a myriad of graphs, maps and other plots, on a daily and routine basis. These include 6 hourly precipitation amount maps over the MARFC basin, QPF plots by basin, bimonthly precipitation amounts and departures from normal by county, forecast temperature plots at selected cities, plots of snow depth observations, plots of snow water equivalent estimations by the MARFC forecast system, and plots of flash flood guidance values for MARFC counties and also surrounding areas covered by the Northeast River Forecast Center (NERFC) and the Ohio River Forecast Center (OHRFC), to assure smooth transition over basin boundaries.

Training:

HAS forecasters must stay current in both river forecast operations and meteorological operations. MARFC HAS forecasters cross train in both disciplines, and take advantage of NWS training opportunities, workshops and conferences.

Any questions concerning the MARFC HAS Program should be addressed to the webmaster.

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Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center
328 Innovation Boulevard, Suite 330
State College, PA 16803
Page Author: Jason Nolan
Webmaster's E-mail: marfc.webmaster@noaa.gov
Page last modified:January 2, 2008 10:12 AM
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