River and Flash Flooding Session 1 Abstracts (Friday)

3:15pm - 3:45 pm // KEYNOTE with Q&A - Linking Continental Hydrology with Local Flood Emergency Response // David Maidment // UT- Austin

3:45pm - 4:00 pm // May 2015 Flooding on the Lower Nueces River: How Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery Enhanced Situational Awareness of Real Time Flood Impacts // Tom Johnstone // NWS Corpus Christi

Round after round of heavy rain fell during April and May throughout the drainage basin of the Nueces river across southern Texas. Multiple long lasting flood episodes occurred along the river, with the greatest impacts over the lower portions of the Nueces Basin around Blunzter and Callalen. The most significant flood impacts occurred during the week of May 17th when the river reached Major Flood stage at multiple locations. Many Nueces County roads were inundated and dozens of residents were cutoff from their homes, in some cases for as long as six weeks.

To get a better understanding of how flooding was impacting the area, Nueces County utilized an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (AEV) to provide real time imagery of the flooding. This imagery was a key driver of the county’s response and allowed them to most effectively focus response efforts where needed. The imagery also proved quite valuable to the local National Weather Service office enabling them to fine tune their hydrologic warning impact statements as the flooding was ongoing.

This presentation will detail how the AEV information was utilized in real time and discuss the tremendous potential for AEV use in disaster assessment in the future. We will also briefly provide a meteorological and hydrologic review of the flooding event across the lower Nueces River. Lastly we’ll detail how the NWS and state/local officials worked together in the Corpus Christi EOC to mitigate loss of life and property throughout this high impact event.

4:00pm - 4:15 pm // Hydrometeorological Observing Networks in Mexico // Mike Hardiman // NWS El Paso

The state of Texas shares a boundary with Mexico that is over 1,200 miles (1,931 km) in length, with several large bi-national population centers and smaller communities straddling the border. With respect to traditional surface-based in-situ meteorological observations (e.g., METAR and Synoptic observations), Mexico remains a “data sparse” region. However, several entities within the Mexican government operate various networks of weather stations. Several of these networks utilize GOES satellites for data transmission and are available for wider dissemination through the U.S. National Weather Service Hydrometeorological Automated Data System (HADS).

The most reliable network, known as EMAS (Estaciones Meteorológicas AutomáticaS), is operated by Mexico’s national weather service, Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN). The network features 189 stations nationwide, including 29 in Mexican States which border Texas.Other networks utilizing GOES data transmission include meteorological and hydrological stations operated by the Mexican Section of the bi-national International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC/CILA) and the Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA). These stations measure streamflow along the Rio Grande and its Mexican tributaries, as well as precipitation within the Rio Grande Basin. Data from these stations is of high value for river stage forecasts along the Rio Grande.

Recently, the National Weather Service in El Paso, TX and the West Gulf River Forecast Center in Fort Worth, TX collaborated to identify hydrologic stations within northern Mexico and add them to the HADS stream. This effort then expanded to include all SMN EMAS stations in Mexican border states, and in states within the North American Monsoon region.

In addition, several Mexican border states now operate reliably, high-quality agricultural mesonets, including over 80 stations in the state of Chihuahua. This presentation will describe the networks in more detail, along with their potential utility in meteorological analysis and forecasting.

4:15pm - 4:30 pm // Texas Flash Flood Coalition // Roy Sedwick // Texas Flood Management Association

Texas Flash Flood Coalition: Saving Lives from Flash Flooding. Texas leads the nation in flash flood fatalities. Since 2007, a diverse group from academia, emergency management, NWS, private industry, river authorities, media, communities, local, state and federal organizations called the Texas Flash Flood Coalition, has been working on innovative solutions through collaboration with one another and the Water Center to improve flash flood forecasts and warnings to mitigate flash flood injury and fatalities in the deadliest flash flood alley in the country and across the rest of Texas. Will discuss how this integrated group has made a difference in saving lives from flash floods through research, technology, education, communication and warning. A summary of action items from their recent meeting will also be presented.