NOAA Seminar Series: Evaluation of operational flood forecasting models in Puerto Rico

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NOAA Seminar Series: Evaluation of operational flood forecasting models in Puerto Rico

June 21, 2023 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm EDT

Title: Evaluation of operational flood forecasting models in Puerto Rico

Speaker: Gerado Trossi Torres, NOAA EPP/MSI CESSRST-II Fellow at UPRM

Date: June 21, 20223

Time: 1:00 PM ET

Venue: Virtual

Meeting Link https://meet.google.com/eeu-gete-ueb

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Abstract: The aim of this project NOAA Experiential Research and Training Opportunities (NERTO) project carried out at the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in San Juan, Puerto Rico (PR) is to analyze hydrological data from the National Water Model (NWM) and compare it with observed data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The established case study was a flash rainfall event in February of 2022. This rainfall event lasted three days, which precipitation accumulations from 1 to 16 inches were measured, affecting around 29 municipalities. The study examines 13 USGS stations where the most significant river flow occurred, surpassing the established river flood stages, covering 10 of the 29 affected municipalities. The NWM output data from two of four configurations added in the model’s latest version were analyzed, specifically for Puerto Rico. Within these configurations, two variables are considered to conduct the analysis. The first variable, RAINRATE, offers the rainfall forecast for the event over PR. The second variable, streamflow, was used to develop the flow behavior throughout the 48 hours of the event.
The streamflow forecast was evaluated with observed data during the event measured by USGS stations. From our results, three stations were chosen that represent different forecast scenarios. In the first scenario, a station in Caguas had a precipitation accumulation of 2-inch with low projected streamflow of 500 cubic feet per second (cfs). The second scenario is a station in Naguabo with a 2-inch accumulation measured, and the projected streamflow was predominantly high at 7000cfs. The last scenario station at Patillas with a buildup of 0.5 inches with projected streamflow of 1800cfs. The main observation in these three scenarios was that the most significant influence on the behavior is the topography around the station and the direction of its downstream flowline. In a station located in a valley, the model will not predict an immediate response compared to a station with steep topography.


June 21
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm EDT
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NOAA Science Seminar Series