Quantitative Precipitation Forecast: Its Generation and Verification at the Southeast River Forecast Center
Bushong, Jack S.
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In a typical year, flooding is the number one cause of weather related deaths in the United States. The National Hurricane Center recently reported that inland flooding now surpasses coastal storm surge as the leading cause of hurricane related deaths (Rappaport et al., 1998). Hurricane Mitch of October, 1998, was responsible for upwards of 10,000 people losing their lives in inland flooding and mud flows in Central America. Although the National Weather Service has produced river and flooding forecasts since 1890, it wasn't until the mid 1990s that the Southeast River Forecast Center (SERFC) incorporated Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF) into its river models throughout the southeastern United States. With the southeastern United States receiving more annual precipitation than anywhere else in the country, and with threats of hurricanes and other tropical type weather, it is imperative that an accurate QPF forecast be made and entered into the SERFC river models. Verification of the QPF has been an important undertaking at the SERFC over the last two years. This paper will discuss QPF verification findings for 1998 and the impact of QPF on the accuracy of hydrologic models.