National Weather Service Policy on Floods, Debris Flows, and Landslides - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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National Weather Service Policy on Floods, Debris Flows, and Landslides PowerPoint Presentation
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National Weather Service Policy on Floods, Debris Flows, and Landslides

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  1. National Weather Service Policy on Floods, Debris Flows, and Landslides Patrick D. Moore National Weather Service Greenville-Spartanburg SC

  2. NWS Policy is Set By… • National Headquarters • Regional Headquarters • Local Weather Forecast Offices

  3. The NWS Informs the Public of Weather Hazards Using a Multi-tiered Concept Outlook – Watch – Warning Ready…Set…Go!

  4. NWS Multi-tiered Concept • Outlook (Hazardous Weather Outlook – HWO) • Issued when an event may develop • Typically more than 48 hours before onset • Confidence 30-50% • Watch (Flash Flood Watch – FFA) • Issued when the expectation of an event has increased, but the occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain • Typically 6-48 hours before onset • Confidence 50-80% • Warning (Flash Flood Warning – FFW) • Issued when an event has a very high probability of occurrence, is imminent, or already occurring • Out to 6 hours • Confidence > 80%

  5. Flood Types • Flash Flood * • Occurs within six hours of the onset of precipitation. • Rapid rises, life-threatening • Flood • Occurs more than six hours after the onset of precipitation. • Relatively slow rises, threatens mainly property • River Flood • Occurs more than six hours after onset of precipitation, sometimes days after precipitation ends • Used for main stem rivers with gaging stations Top image Pickens Sentinel, Bottom image Asheville Citizen-Times *For tropical systems, GSP will issue Flash Flood Warnings

  6. Other Flood Products • Advisory • Issued for an event which will cause inconvenience but not necessarily threaten life • Statement • Issued as a follow-up to a Warning or Advisory to provide more information John D. Simmons, Charlotte Observer

  7. The National Weather Service DOES NOT Issue Warnings for Debris Flows and Landslides!!! Photo by Jonathan Lamb, NWS

  8. The Problem With Debris Flows… • The NWS does not have knowledge of the underlying geological conditions or geomorphic processes related to debris flows • The NWS has no way of knowing what slopes are in danger of failing or if a slope has already failed, with the exception of… • Burn scars • Identified unstable slopes Top photo Jonathan Lamb, NWS, bottom photo Patrick Parton, Haywood County

  9. Debris Flows, Landslides and NWS Products • The expectation or occurrence of a debris flow may form the basis for a Flash Flood Warning • NWS Flood products may contain information about possible landslide activity • However, the expectation of landslide activity will not, in general, trigger a Flood or Flash Flood Warning.

  10. Flash Floods Depend On… • Rainfall intensity and duration • Antecedent conditions • stream flow • soil moisture • Shape of stream channel • Topography and land use John D. Simmons, The Charlotte Observer

  11. Landslides… • Are related to periods of heavy rain • Do not necessarily occur in stream beds or flood plains… Jonathan Austin, Yancey County News The Knoxville Journal

  12. Intense Rainfall and Landslides • Most of what we know has come from the Geological community (NCGS, USGS) • Research has determined a general relationship between rainfall amounts and landslide activity Rick Wooten, NCGS

  13. General Forecast Considerations for Landslides in Western North Carolina Five Inches of rain in 24 hrs Ten inches of rain in 24 hrs Widespread slope movement events High antecedent moisture conditions followed by high intensity rainfall • Localized slope movement events Rainfall rates of 3.5 inches to 4.0 inches per hour dramatically increase the chance of landslides

  14. The Problem With Slope Failures… • The rule of thumb between rainfall amounts and landslides sometimes breaks down in the case of modified slopes • The NWS has no knowledge of modified slopes across the mountains of NC

  15. Landslides and NWS Products • “Calls-to-action” will be inserted if forecast or observed rainfall exceeds ~ 5 inches in 24 hours • Flood/Flash Flood Watches • If antecedent conditions are moist • Flood/Flash Flood Warnings • High rainfall rate • Flood Statements and Advisories • If only minor flooding is expected • Updates to ongoing flood situations

  16. Landslide “Calls-To-Action” • For a Watch • For a Warning

  17. Questions? Image by Arthur Raynolds