A new, state-of-the-art system of observations and models to improve monitoring and prediction of precipitation, streamflow, and coastal flooding in the Bay area

An X-Band radar installed for AQPI

Water management in the San Francisco Bay area can be challenging, in large part due to the risk of flooding from coastal storms. A new paper co-authored by NOAA, CIRA, and CIRES researchers at PSL and GSL, and to be published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, provides an overview of Advanced Quantitative Precipitation Information (AQPI) – a combined system of observations and modeling for improved monitoring and prediction of precipitation, streamflow, and coastal flooding in the San Francisco Bay area. The system was built primarily for the water management community in and around the Bay area to better prepare and respond to extreme precipitation events.

Advanced weather radars and new surface meteorology stations are being installed to supplement existing NEXRAD coverage. The system also incorporates several forecast models including the NOAA High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) and Global Forecast System for precipitation and temperature, the National Water Model for streamflow, and the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System for coastal flooding information. The USGS model uses input from the HRRR and the National Water Model to initialize its forecasts of coastal water levels.Through an online graphical user interface, precipitation, streamflow, and coastal water level data products are delivered to water managers – and can be used with their own local models and workflow.

AQPI provides improved situational awareness of extreme flooding events in the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently being used by over a dozen water agencies. The system could be replicated for use in other urban regions.

Cifelli, R. (PSL), V. Chandrasekar, L. Herdman, D. D. Turner, A. B. White (PSL), T. I. Alcott, M. Anderson, P. Barnard, S. K. Biswas (PSL and CIRA), M. Boucher, J. Bytheway (PSL and CIRES),...D. J. Gottas (PSL), J. Jasperse, L. E. Johnson (PSL and CIRA), J. Krebs, J. van de Lindt, J. Kim (PSL and CIRA), M. Leon, Y. Ma (PSL and CIRA), M. Marquis), Moninger, W.,...and R. Webb (PSL): Advanced Quantitative Precipitation Information: Improving Monitoring and Forecasts of Precipitation, Streamflow, and Coastal Flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-21-0121.1.