October 29, 2010. Chesapeake Bay.
A three year effort by the Chesapeake Bay Inundation Prediction System (CIPS) concluded recently, with WeatherFlow observation and model data having played a major role. The CIPS team, composed of scientists and analysts from the National Weather Service, several academic institutions, and WeatherFlow, produced an end-to-end prototype tidal flooding prediction system for the Chesapeake Bay. Several aspects of the prototype were unique, including development of an ensemble approach to improve the inputs representing the surface wind field, which is the primary driver of storm surges.
This use of multiple input wind fields allows for the generation of more accurate results in which users can have a higher degree of confidence, and the system was tested with encouraging results during a strong Nor-easter in November of 2009. Predicted water levels were within several inches of observed values, and because of the successful forecast of the wind driven portion of the high water, scientists were able to isolate the excessive rainfall as being responsible for the remaining flood component.
Follow-on potential for continued work using these technologies is high, with interest from both the public sector (NOAA and other federal agencies, as well as state and local governments) and the private sector (utility, transportation, and other industries).