Project abstract for group nykanend

Improving Flood Forecasting on Rapid Runoff Response Watersheds

The overall goal of this project is to improve operational flood forecasting on rapid runoff response watersheds in the Driftless Area for summer convective rainfall. The Driftless Area of southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, northwest Illinois, and northeast Iowa has been plagued by record breaking floods including both flash floods and multi-day events. The diverse geology and geography of the area, including its steep limestone ridges, presents many challenges for operational forecasting of the precipitation to streamflow runoff process. The North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC) is responsible for river forecasting in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, which includes the Driftless Area. They currently use a lumped, 6-hour time step hydrology model. Experience has shown that the 6-hour time step is not adequate to capture the rapid response of several watersheds to summer convective rainfall. This research project will focus on scaling analysis of rainfall over the region, characterization of flood response time scales for key problematic rivers, and experimentation with model modifications to improve flood forecast skill.

A bibliography of this group’s publications acknowledging MSI is attached.