The Ohio River Forecast Center (OHRFC) is co-located with the
Wilmington National Weather Service Forecast Office. The National
Weather Service (NWS) has the river and flood forecasting responsibility
for the nation. The mission of the NWS Hydrologic Services Program
is to save lives, reduce property damage, and contribute to the
efficient use of the nation's water resources.
OHRFC hydrologists are tasked with providing daily river stage
and flow volume forecasts for locations along nearly the entire
length of the Ohio River (981 miles), and all of the tributary rivers
and streams that flow into it. The area of responsibility
covers approximately 200,000 square miles, from the Allegheny River
in Western New York and the Monongahela River in West Virginia,
to the inflow to Smithland dam (which is 63 river miles upstream
from Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River drains into the Mississippi
River). This involves forecasting for approximately one hundred
locations on a daily basis, and as many as two hundred locations
during a critical flood situation.
The OHRFC is open from 6am until 10pm every day of the year.
Operating hours are extended as needed during flood events. The
Ohio River Forecast Center accomplishes its river and flood forecasting
operations through the use of a computer model which attempts to
simulate the rises and falls of the actual rivers. Many different
parameters are involved in this computer model. Among them are:
location and amount of rainfall during the past 24 hours; location
and amount of snowmelt, if any; amount of water being discharged
through dams and navigational locks; air temperature and estimations
of soil moisture. Precipitation forecast to occur over the next
24 to 48 hours is also entered into the model for inclusion in the
Our Mailing address and listed phone number are:
Ohio River Forecast Center
1901 South State Route 134
Wilmington, OH 45177-9708
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