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Flood forecasting methodology in Alberta - Evan Friesenhan

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Evan, Acting Director of River Forecasting with Alberta Environment and Sustainable, presented at Alberta’s Watershed Management Symposium: Flood and Drought Mitigation. He explained Alberta’s approach to river forecasting, warning systems, and tools and resources to keep the public informed.

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Flood forecasting methodology in Alberta - Evan Friesenhan

  1. 1. Flood Forecasting Methodology in Alberta Evan Friesenhan, M.Eng., P.Eng Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development April 29, 2014
  2. 2. River Forecast Centre Mandate – Real-time flow forecasting and support to partners • Public • Municipal/Community Emergency Managers • Industry • Federal/Provincial organizations – Near real-time data quality management • Real time data corrections and adjustments • assist in prioritized field maintenance of monitoring network – Daily Natural Flow Forecasting – Water Supply To provide Albertans with information related to current and future river or river ice conditions to enable Albertan's to make decisions related to water supply, and emergency response planning.
  3. 3. Open Water Forecasting Operations - Data • 400+ Hydrometric stations – 146 model forecast points • 630 Meteorological stations Elbow River below Glenmore Reservoir 2013 Elbow River at Bragg Creek 2013 ESRD Temporary Station – Medicine Hat 2013
  4. 4. Open Water Forecasting Operations - Weather Forecasts • Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) – Fire Weather Office – twice daily briefings; duty forecaster • Environment Canada – Regional and Global models, Significant Weather Discussions issued by the Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center • NOAA – Modeling and Guidance, Unisys, Intellicast, etc.
  5. 5. Open Water Forecasting Operations - General • Primary river flooding concerns are caused by: – Significant rainfall events and significant rain on snow events • Based on weather and river conditions, the River Forecast Centre will enter 24x7 operations to provide forecasting services as required • Rotation period: mid-March to mid October • Typical Critical Time Period: mid-May to mid-July Red Deer River 2013 Highwood River upstream of High River 2013 Waiparous Creek 2013 (June 20th and 21st)
  6. 6. River Forecast Centre Event Operations: Stage 1 – Anticipation of Major Storm • Discuss weather forecast and model results, assess basins for areas of concern – Timing, duration, location, intensity, amount of forecast precipitation • Allocate RFC staff to support 24/7 Operations • Notify GOA water managers and support teams, as well as municipal authorities with a flood risk. • Information in Forecaster’s Comments Sheep River at Black Diamond 2013
  7. 7. River Forecast Centre Event Operations: Stage 2 – Flood Event • Alert internal and external clients – Directly call municipal emergency managers and water managers – Issue Advisories, Flood Watches or Flood Warnings, as necessary – All advisories issued via Alberta Emergency Alert – Local Authorities, Media • Quantitative Forecasts – Time, peak flow rate range, water level change • Continue to provide situational updates to emergency management groups, public. • 24x7 operations: QA/QC, update models, field coordination, Alerts, Forecaster’s Comments, Advisories. Red Deer River near Sundre 2013
  8. 8. RFC Flood Operations Methodology
  9. 9. RFC Flood Operations Methodology
  10. 10. RFC Flood Operations Methodology
  11. 11. RFC Flood Operations Methodology
  12. 12. Forecaster’s Comments • Provide information and context for areas of current interest throughout the province regarding: – the current and forecast weather conditions; – the current and forecast river conditions, including any advisories in place; – Links to additional information including water level data, water supply information, precipitation maps, etc. • Updated a minimum of two times a week or as conditions (current or forecasted) within the province change.
  13. 13. Advisories, Flood Watches & Flood Warnings • Issued as current or forecast river conditions warrant. • Contains information relating to what is occurring or is forecast to occur along the rivers under an advisory. • Available on our website and via the Alberta Emergency Alert system.
  14. 14. Open Water Forecasting Operations – 2014 Spring Conditions
  15. 15. Open Water Forecasting Operations – 2014 Spring Conditions (Plains Melt)
  16. 16. Open Water Forecasting Operations – 2014 Spring Conditions (Mtn Snow)
  17. 17. Open Water Forecasting Operations – 2014 Spring Conditions
  18. 18. 2014 Projects • Lessons Learned and Partner Engagement Workshops: – Discussion with municipalities, First Nations communities and other partners regarding the June 2013 southern Alberta Flooding. – Provided with information regarding what occurred in each community, how they responded, what they learned and how the River Forecast Centre can better support the communities in the short and long term. – Community specific river fact sheets, Information portal • Performance Measures Project: – Focused on Investigating world wide best practices of river forecasting. – Investigation into current performance measures used by existing operational flood forecasting groups around the world as well as documentation of current programs and computer models being used and why they have been selected.
  19. 19. 2014 Projects • Assessing Flood Risk based on changes in Rainfall/Runoff Characteristics: – Investigating how changes in duration and intensity of rainfall affect the timing of flood events in specific communities. – This will provide a greater understanding of the communities and areas which are at risk of flash flooding events, as well as potential forecasting lead times. • Weather Forecast Variability Project: – Evaluating the effect that variations in weather forecast have of river forecasts. – It has been shown that there is a possibility that weather forecast/model variability can impact forecast precipitation totals and intensities, which in turn impact forecast river flows and levels.
  20. 20. 2014 Projects • Rainfall Intensity Alarms (on +40 sites) • Prototype to the use of the Weather Research & Forecast (WRF) Model – hourly precipitation forecasts, provided four times daily for the max, min and average scenarios for each river sub-basin that we model. • Environment Canada Collaboration: – Converting gridded weather model data to model input/web Medicine Hat WSC shack: High water mark and 5500 m³/s predicted level est.
  21. 21. Government of Alberta Water Management Reservoir Sites • Preparedness – Ongoing monitoring of reservoir inflow potential (snowpack, snowmelt, rainfall) – Emergency preparedness planning meetings with Local Governments and Stakeholders • Communications – Review and assessment of communication tools for downstream stakeholders – Dam Operator’s blog site (pilot in development)
  22. 22. Dickson Dam Site Red Deer River Oldman Dam Site Oldman River Oldman Dam Public Open House May 15, 2014 (near Pincher Creek) Dickson Dam Public Open House May 14, 2014 (near Innisfail)
  23. 23. 2014 Projects Cont’d • Communication Tools Improvement – Current Tools • Single “Provincial Flood Advisory” through Alberta Emergency Alerts – New Tool • Alberta Rivers Mobile App (May 2014) Alberta Rivers
  24. 24. River Basins Mobile App
  25. 25. Map view - launch
  26. 26. Map view - zoom
  27. 27. Station shelf - expanded
  28. 28. Data - expanded
  29. 29. Advisories
  30. 30. MyStations
  31. 31. Map - launch
  32. 32. Shelf
  33. 33. Definitions
  34. 34. Forecaster’s Comments
  35. 35. Help
  36. 36. Thank you

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