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Hurricane Floyd

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Hurricane Floyd
10 Years Later

NOAA Science Mosaic In the 10 years since Hurricane Floyd, The National Oceanice and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has made strong advances in the science and technology of protecting life and property.

Improved technology, research collaboration, advanced forecasting techniques, and cross agency information sharing has all worked toward improving improving the forecast process and translating that forecast to public safety.

AHPS Inundation Mapping CI-FLOW
Dual-Polarized Radars Hurricane Forecasting GIS
Floyd Related Research

Advanced Hydrologic
Prediction Service

AHPS Example AHPS applies new science which provides more accurate forecasts for flow conditions ranging from droughts to floods in a timely and user-friendly manner. AHPS uses a combination of software and hardware tools to analyze data and create graphical displays of probability forecasts.

AHPS river, flood and drought forecasts are prepared by hydrologists and hydrometeorologists at the NWS' 13 River Forecast Centers and 122 Weather Forecast Offices.

River Hydrograph Example AHPS provide forecasts of river levels and river flow volumes from an hour to a season for areas large and small, including river forecast information such as:
  • How high the river will rise
  • When the river will reach its peak
  • Where property will be flooded
  • How long flooding will continue
  • How long a drought will last

AHPS also provides better information to water managers and city officials, helping them make decisions about water allocation and economics such as:
  • When and where to evacuate people, goods and industrial property from potential flood areas, thus saving more lives and contributing to economic savings.
  • How to use reservoir storage capacity and release to reduce flood impacts on people and businesses, including agricultural demands.
  • When to reinforce levees and at what level, to help reduce damage to areas nearby.
For more information, please visit the AHPS webpage.

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Inundation Mapping

Innundation Mapping Example

A new partnership with the NOAA Coastal Services Center brings geographic information system (GIS) and modeling expertise to this project. This partnership will enable the development of a flood inundation mapping capability that is incorporated into SERFC's operational forecasts. These flood maps provide a graphical aerial depiction of the forecasted inundation areas and supplement the traditional text and hydrograph forecast products.

Using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)-derived elevation data collected by the State of North Carolina, SERFC and the State of North Carolina's Flood Mapping Information System will provide accurate flood forecast inundation maps via the Internet. This presentation highlights the methodologies in flood forecast mapping, GIS products that will be made available as NWS forecast products via the Internet, and new partnerships between federal, state, and local governments. The successful demonstration of this project in the Tar River Basin and several other basins in North Carolina may lead to this project expanding nationwide

For more information, view the Inundation Mapped Locations.

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CI-FLOW Mosaic

The Coastal and Inland Flood Observation and Warning Project (CI-FLOW) is a multi-agency project to evaluate and test new technologies to produce accurate and timely identification of inland and coastal floods in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse river basins of coastal North Carolina. CI-FLOW was initiated in response to devastating human and economic losses caused by storm-surge and coastal flooding from Hurricanes Floyd and Dennis in 1999.

The CI-FLOW approach to water information is also establishing a firm foundation for cooperation and collaboration with other federal, state, academic, and tribal agencies and governments and NOAA's Coastal Estuary River Information System (CERIS) through its primary project goals of:
  • Advanced Automated Hydrologic Precipitation Estimation
  • Advanced Hydrologic and Estuary Modeling Techniques
  • Introduction of Water Quality Forecasts
  • Improved Forecasts of Water Levels for Marine Operations
For more information visit CI-FLOW's webpage.

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Dual-Polarized Radars

Dual Polarized 88D Radar Image

The improvements associated with polarimetric radars comes from their ability to provide previously unavailable information on cloud and precipitation particle size, shape, and ice density. With this in mind, just a few of the potential applications of polarimetric radar data are listed below.
  • Improved estimation of rain and snow rates
  • Discrimination of hail from rain and possibly gauging hail size
  • Identification of precipitation type in winter storms
  • Identification of electrically active storms
  • Identification of aircraft icing conditions
Polarimetric radars, also called dual-polarization radars, transmit radio wave pulses that have both horizontal and vertical orientations. The additional information from vertical pulses will greatly improve many different types of forecasts and warnings for hazardous weather. NSSL's KOUN research radar also has the ability to transmit the horizontal and vertical pulses at the same time, using a "simultaneous transmission scheme," (most research polarimetric radars use an alternate horizontal & vertical transmission scheme). This reduces the time it takes to scan an area.

For more information on Dual-Polarized Radars, visit the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

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Hurricane Forecasting

The National Hurricane Center's forecasters have become much more skillful in using certain satellite data, especially microwave and scatterometer (QuikSCAT) data. While some of this data began before Floyd, it has taken some time for hurricane forecasters to become proficient in using the data and comfortable with how to interpret it. Launched in June 19, 1999, the QuikSCAT satellite's data did not become available to forecasters until after Floyd. The QuikSCAT satellite is an active radar scatterometer. This scatterometer operates by transmitting high-frequency microwave pulses to the ocean surface. The scatterometer estimates wind speed and direction over the Earth's oceans by measuring these pulses.

Forecasters now also have higher resolution numerical models at their disposal. They are receiving higher resolution global models from several agencies (including the GFS, UKMET, and ECMWF models), and these models have become much better at resolving the environment around tropical cyclones. This had led to much improved track forecasts. Mesoscale Models, atmospheric models having horizontal scales ranging from a few to several hundred kilometers, have also become available to forecasters. One of these models is known as the HWRF model (Pictured Above). All of these models has allowed forecasters to develop new ensemble and consensus techniques whereby they "average" and "smooth" a selection of the available models to develop a forecast track.

Probably the biggest step forecasters have for improving forecasts is the Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT). This is a program that funds several research programs each year with the attempt at developing new tools or models that will ultimately improve tropical cyclone forecasts. The National Hurricane Center can't do all this on its own, so this is an avenue that has allowed them to advertise to others what their greatest needs are, and they in turn will do the necessary research and development to transition their project into NHC operations.

For more information, visit The National Hurricane Center's Forecast Verification webpage.

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GIS Applications

NOAA's Coastal Service Center has developed an interactive mapping application allows you to search the National Hurricane Center historical tropical cyclone database and graphically display storms affecting your area since 1851.

Hurricane Center GIS

The website provides information about U.S. coastal county population versus hurricane strikes (see below right) There are also links to various Internet resources focusing on tropical cyclones. There is a service for looking up historic tropical storm and hurricane storm reports.

Contents of the Report

• A summary of the storm's life cycle and pertinent meteorological data, including the post-analysis best track (six-hourly positions and intensities) and other meteorological statistics.

• A description of damage and casualties produced by the system.

• Information on forecasts and warnings associated with the cyclone.
Hurricane Center GIS Statistics

For more information, and instructions on how to obtain Historal Hurricane Data, please visit the National Hurricane Center

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Hurricane Floyd Related Research

Due to the vast economic and sociological impacts of Hurricane Floyd, there has been a large amount of research that trys to better understand hurricanes and their impacts. Below you will find a select amount of research provided by NOAA offices, USGS, FEMA, universities, and other organizations.
Beach Nourishment for Hurricane Protection
A study on the beach nourishments projects in NC, and how they withstood Floyd and Dennis.

National Weather Service's Floyd Service Assessment
An assessment to examine the flood-related aspects of NWS warnings.

Lessons Learned Regarding the Use of Spatial Data and Geographic Information Systems
An overview of GIS applications used to study the Floyd event

Two Months of Flooding in Eastern North Carolina, September - October 1999
A study on hydrologic, water-quality, and geologic effects of Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, and Irene

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