Experimental Satellite Flood Inundation Imagery for Flood Forecasting at the North Central River Forecast Center (278)

Michael DeWeese, National Weather Service, Chanhassen, MN

Andrew Mangham, National Weather Service

Sanmei Li, George Mason University



Flooding is one of the most costly and deadly natural disasters in the United States, resulting in more fatalities than any other disaster type. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey alone caused catastrophic record flooding resulting in 125 billion dollars of estimated damages. The National Weather Service River Forecast Centers are charged with providing river forecast information for the nation, from flooding to drought. Beginning in 2014, the North Central River Forecast Center has utilized satellite information from the experimental VIIRS Flood Inundation products as part of the JPSS Proving Ground and Risk Reduction Program to monitor flooding over large areas. Results have proven this information to be reliable, providing a valuable new information source that can be used for flood detection and forecasting. This data is especially useful in remote regions where no other observed data source is available. Examples are provided to demonstrate the operational contributions of this product in cold region snowmelt and ice jam flooding scenarios, as well as major flooding from rainfall in the upper Mississippi River basin. In addition, a new joint geostationary-JPSS flood product combined from Suomi-NPP/VIIRS and GOES-16/ABI imagery, scheduled to be available in July 2018, will provide more frequent images with expanded coverage under cloudy conditions. Prototypes are presented contrasting the new composite imagery to the single source legacy imagery currently available.