CI-FLOW Project Prepares for Test from Hanna

North Carolina Sea Grant and NOAA’s multi-agency CI-FLOW (Coastal and Inland Flooding Observation and Warning) project team is closely watching Tropical Storm Hanna. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has already declared a State of Emergency to prepare for the storm. Hanna is nearing hurricane strength and may reach a Category 1 level over night. Hanna’s rain bands are already affecting the area and National Weather Service forecasters are predicting storm-surge flooding of four to six feet and rainfall amounts from three to seven inches.

CI-FLOW is a project to demonstrate improved forecasts of inland and coastal floods and flash floods in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River basins, where flooding is expected over the weekend. Hanna will provide critical data for ongoing preliminary testing of CI-FLOW, which was initiated in response to the devastating human and economic from Hurricanes Floyd and Dennis in North Carolina in 1999.

CI-FLOW brings together state, federal and academic scientists to demonstrate an end-to-end monitoring and prediction system to reduce the number of fatalities due to flooding, the leading cause of storm related deaths.

CI-FLOW will use precipitation estimates from Q2, a joint initiative between NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Weather Service and the NOAA/University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. Q2 produces precipitation estimates for the United States every five minutes using radar, satellite, lightning, and atmospheric data sets (http://nmq.ou.edu).

CI-FLOW links inland river models and coastal ocean/estuary models, each using input from high-resolution weather forecast models and multi-sensor precipitation estimates. This capability will increase the accuracy of water-level forecasts in the tidal plain by ensuring storm surge impacts and inland streamflow conditions are taken into account.

This research consortium includes NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, North Carolina and South Carolina Sea Grant programs, National Sea Grant College Program, NWS Weather Forecast Offices of North and South Carolina the University of Oklahoma, NOAA/OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NWS Hydrology Laboratory, NWS Southeast River Forecast Center, NOAA in the Carolinas, NOAA’s Coastal Services Center and Texas Sea Grant.

CI-FLOW project information can be found at www.nssl.noaa.gov/ciflow