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Studying extreme precipitation in Southeastern U.S.

An atmospheric river observatory recently installed in Sydney, Florida
An atmospheric river observatory recently installed in Sydney, Florida. The system consists of a Doppler wind profiling radar, a 10-m meteorological tower, and a GPS receiver to calculate integrated water vapor. (CREDIT: Clark King, NOAA)
Contact: Allen White

June 4, 2014

NOAA Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT) personnel from ESRL's Physical Sciences Division (PSD) are leading a study to improve observations and fundamental understanding of heavy precipitation in the southeastern U.S. With support from the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (a.k.a. Sandy Supplemental), this project aims to address how extreme precipitation events in the Southeast can be...

  • Better Observed – using a network of coastal atmospheric river observatories (AROs);
  • Better Understood – by analyzing the historical record and applying modern forecasting techniques such as reforecasting;
  • Better Integrated – so that relevant information on extreme precipitation events can be shared with stakeholders, both inside and outside of NOAA.

This month, AROs are being installed at sites in Sydney, Florida, coastal Mississippi, and Charleston, South Carolina. Providing better observations of landfalling tropical weather systems will help further understanding of these important phenomena. Data from the AROs will be transmitted back to a data hub in Boulder, Colorado, where image products are generated immediately and made available to weather forecasters and the general public.

In addition to PSD, partners in these activities include NOAA National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, the Cooperative Institute for Marine Ecosystems and Climate, North Carolina State University, and Plymouth State University. The project will complement on going activities associated with the HMT-Southeast Pilot Study (HMT-SEPS).