Implementation of Real-Time Tide and Hurricane Storm Surge Predictions for the National Weather Service 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 were conducted to verify 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 downstream boundary conditions for an application of the FLDWAV channel routing model.

Presently the SERFC and UCF are collaborating on a two-year Cooperative Project involving two main phases that greatly expand on their past efforts. The first year included the application of simulated tides from the finite element model in the implementation of a FLDWAV model to conduct real-time flood forecasting for the Waccamaw River. The second year implements 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) and explore incorporation of the results with FLDWAV simulations and predictions of flash floods that are due to extreme storm events.

The present effort will realize the implementation of real-time tide and hurricane storm surge predictions for the National Weather Service River Forecast System. Two major phases will be completed that will greatly expand on past efforts. Phase I will incorporate in real-time the storm surge model output as boundary conditions for FLDWAV. Phase II will expand the domain to incorporate the entire East Coast of the United States, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. This entire cooperative effort lays the groundwork for the inclusion of real-time simulations of tides, hurricane storm surge, and wave run-up 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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