Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 15

Figure 1. The hurricane track and landfall of Hurricane
Harvey, August 24 to September 1, 2017. Sources: https://
weather.com/storms/hurricane-central/harvey-2017/
AL092017,
https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/tropicalstorm-harvey-forecast-texas-louisiana-arkansas

For precipitation from two to five
days' duration, data prepared by Texas
State Climatologist John NeilsenGammon and colleagues show that
Hurricane Harvey had the greatest
areal precipitation ever recorded in the
United States. They used gage calibrated
radar-rainfall data and calculated the
average depth of precipitation over storm
areas ranging from 1,000 square miles
to 50,000 square miles for two, three
and five days' duration, and compared
these Depth-Area-Duration data with
comparable data from historical storms
prior to Harvey in the continental United
States. For two days' duration, Harvey's
precipitation was equal to the worst of the
previous historical events, for three days'
duration, Harvey's precipitation averaged
five inches more than previous historical
events, and as shown in Figure 2, for five
days' duration, Harvey's precipitation
averaged 11 inches more than previous
historical events. We would normally
regard 11 inches of rainfall over such
large areas as a severe storm all by itself-
and Harvey had this rainfall on top of the
worst recorded rainfalls from past storms
in the nation!
A federal disaster was declared for 33
counties in Texas, with the main impact
areas being near Corpus Christi where
the hurricane came ashore, and in the
Houston area and southeast Texas where
more than 100,000 homes were flooded
by the rainfall deluge. A saving grace for
Houston was that the eye of the hurricane
did not come close to the city, so damage
was by flooding rather than wind, and
most of the power system and cell phone

Figure 2. Precipitation depth as a function of storm area for a
five-day duration during Hurricane Harvey (orange line) compared
to the worst historical events (blue dots). Calculated using gageadjusted radar rainfall data. Data sources: NWS River Forecast
Centers; Applied Weather Associates, Inc., NASA. Analysis: John
Nielsen-Gammon and Brent McRoberts, Texas A&M University.

communications remained functional
throughout the storm.
Flood emergency response in Texas is
coordinated at the state level by the Texas
Division of Emergency Management. There
is a saying: "All floods begin and end at
the local level," and the function of the
state is to assist the local first responders
in cities and counties to the extent possible
with additional resources. This assistance
is coordinated through Disaster Districts,
which comprise groups of counties. Cities
and counties request help through the
Disaster Districts, and these requests are
coordinated at the State Operations Center
to be matched with the resources available
from elsewhere in Texas and those brought
to Texas from the federal government and
other states.
During Hurricane Harvey, these
resources comprised hundreds of
helicopters and aircraft, thousands of
trucks and boats, and tens of thousands
of personnel. The entire 16,000 troops
of Texas National Guard were deployed.
There are 26 Urban Search and Rescue
teams available on call throughout the
nation, and for the first time in history,
all 26 teams were deployed. One example
of the response effort occurred when
the cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur
received 26 inches of rainfall on Tuesday,
August 29, and became like Venice for a
time. During the peak response effort, the
air above these cities was so thick with
helicopters lifting people out of the flood
waters that no more helicopters could
be sent in. Overall, the flood emergency
response was effective-about 80 people
died in Hurricane Harvey, and while each

death is a tragedy unto itself, this death
toll is much less than the 1,800 people who
died during Hurricane Katrina.
Throughout the hurricane, weather
forecasting was provided to the Texas State
Operations Center by the National Weather
Service through its Southern Region, and
river flow forecasting on the main stem
rivers by the West Gulf River Forecast
Center. This information was presented in
a weather and flood briefing each morning
at 8 a.m., which was followed by a survey
around the Disaster Districts of current
conditions in their areas, and then by
reports from personnel representing the
various functions of the operations center
itself. By this means, the response actions
were coordinated with the anticipated
weather and flooding conditions. In
parallel with the mainstem river flow
forecasting done by the West Gulf River
Forecast Center, the Fort Worth District of
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used the
data from these forecasts to prepare flood
inundation maps for the mainstem rivers
flowing to the Texas Gulf Coast and also
for bayous in the Houston area.
Because of the unprecedented
magnitude of Hurricane Harvey, the Texas
Division of Emergency Management
(TDEM) requested the Director of the
National Weather Service to mobilize
the National Water Center (University of
Alabama, Tuscaloosa) on Sunday August
17 to assist with flood inundation mapping
from Hurricane Harvey. Later, TDEM also
requested the assistance of the University
of Texas at Austin to provide expedited
water information. These requests were
prompted by the need to have a synoptic
Volume 20 * Number 1 www.awra.org * 15


http://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane-central/harvey-2017/AL092017 http://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane-central/harvey-2017/AL092017 https://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/tropical-storm-harvey-forecast-texas-louisiana-arkansas http://www.awra.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018

President’s Message
The National Water Model Vision
Transforming NOAA Water Prediction: The New National Water Model
Perspectives on the National Water Model
FloodCast: A Framework for Enhanced Flood Event Decision Making for Transportation Resilience
Hurricane Harvey and the National Water Model
Contributions of the Academic Community in Advancing the National Water Model
Turning on the Faucet: Making National Water Model Data Flow
The New Economics of Water: Balancing Urban and Agricultural Water Needs on Colorado’s Front Range
What’s Up with Water: United We Stand, Divided We Fall: States Rights and WOTUS Rule
International Conference Recap
AWRA State Section and Student Chapter News
December JAWRA Highlights
In Memoriam: Ari Michelsen
2018-2019 Richard A. Herbert Memorial Scholarship Opportunities
AWRA Board of Directors 2018 Call for Nominations
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - Intro
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - cover1
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - cover2
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 3
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 4
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - President’s Message
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - The National Water Model Vision
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 7
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - Transforming NOAA Water Prediction: The New National Water Model
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 9
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - Perspectives on the National Water Model
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 11
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - FloodCast: A Framework for Enhanced Flood Event Decision Making for Transportation Resilience
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 13
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - Hurricane Harvey and the National Water Model
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 15
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 16
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - Contributions of the Academic Community in Advancing the National Water Model
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 18
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - Turning on the Faucet: Making National Water Model Data Flow
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 20
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - The New Economics of Water: Balancing Urban and Agricultural Water Needs on Colorado’s Front Range
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - What’s Up with Water: United We Stand, Divided We Fall: States Rights and WOTUS Rule
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 23
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 24
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - International Conference Recap
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - AWRA State Section and Student Chapter News
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - December JAWRA Highlights
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - In Memoriam: Ari Michelsen
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - 2018-2019 Richard A. Herbert Memorial Scholarship Opportunities
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - AWRA Board of Directors 2018 Call for Nominations
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - cover3
Water Resources - IMPACT - January 2018 - cover4
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