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
Routine and real-time quality control of observed precipitation
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Any questions concerning the MARFC HAS Program should be addressed to the webmaster.