A Demonstration of Real-time Tide and Hurricane Storm Surge Predictions for the NWS River Forecast System

Recent cooperative efforts between the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the Southeast River Forecast Center (SERFC) have resulted in the development of a finite element model for hydrodynamic calculations for the entire coast of South Carolina and a portion of North Carolina. The project area is located in the northern region of the South Atlantic Bight along the southeast coast of the United States and focuses on river stage forecasting for the Waccamaw River. The first cooperative effort between UCF and SERFC resulted in preliminary tidal calculations that verified the model. The second cooperation studied the effects of tidal flow through the Winyah Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway on tide-stage hydrographs, and defined the location of a downstream boundary condition for an application of the FLDWAV channel routing model.

The SERFC and UCF have cooperated to complete two main phases that greatly expanded on our past efforts. Phase I included the application of simulated tides from the finite element model in a demonstration of the FLDWAV model for conducting real-time flood forecasting for the Waccamaw River. Phase II implemented the finite element model to simulate the tides and storm surge that was caused by Hurricane Hugo (September 10-22, 1989 with landfall near Charleston, SC) to explore incorporation of the results with FLDWAV simulations and predictions of flash floods that are due to extreme storm events. The entire cooperative effort laid the groundwork for the inclusion of real-time simulations of hurricane storm surge in flood forecasting efforts of the SERFC and other NWS Forecasting Centers that border on coastal areas.

The COMET Program provides funding for this research.

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