Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2010

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Weber, Larry

First Committee Member

Young, Nathan


The accuracy and quality of river forecasts are dependent on the nature of each flood. Less extreme , more common, floods may afford deviations between the predicted forecast and observed stage because the locals may be prepared, based on past experience to deal with the less extreme flood events. For less frequent, high flow events the flood forecasts and advanced warning time are more critical, because the locals need time to develop emergency response plans.

The National Weather Service River Forecast Centers (NWS RFC) develop the river forecasts and provide them to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (NWS WFO) for dissemination. During flood events the RFC's are tasked with processing the observed data and running, reviewing and modifying the forecast models to provide reasonable river forecasts based on observed conditions and the forecasters' experience.

This thesis will discuss the personal experiences of the author, analyze the components of the National Weather Service river forecasting process, analyze June 2008 river and precipitation forecasts for several eastern Iowa watersheds, and discuss the results of the analysis as well as provide support to current calls to action to support forecast verification through the hindcasting process.


forecast skill, forecast validation, forecast verification, hindcasting, river forecast


vii, 98 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-68).


Copyright 2010 Toby Hunemuller