Flash Flood Risk Analysis Project (FFRAP)

National Weather Service Springfield MO

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Flash floods pose a significant threat to life and produce a  substantial loss of property, crops, roads, etc. across the Missouri Ozarks and southeast Kansas each year. The rocky and steep terrain of the Ozark Plateau coupled with hundreds of small streams and rivers result in a significant flash flood hazard. The threat to life is compounded by the hundreds of low water crossings across the Ozarks. Recent flood events have demonstrated the dangers of low water crossings with numerous water rescues.

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NOAA Logo Low Water Crossing Map

NOAA Logo Flash Flood Symposium

NOAA Logo Flash Flood Awareness

NOAA Logo FFRAP Operational Demonstration

NOAA Logo FFRAP GIS Analysis

NOAA Logo Flash lood Briefing Page



The Flash Flood Risk Analyis Project was created to better understand river basins and flood prone areas, and their response to heavy rainfall rates and amounts in order to provide flash flood warnings with longer lead time, greater accuracy and more specific information.

The purpose of developing a flash flood threat analysis tool is three old.

  • Enhance the Flash Flood Warning Process
    • Development of GIS enhanced Flash Flood Analysis
    • Identify flash flood behavior factors  including physiographic and societal impacts
    • Categorize flood risk rating for basins, streams  and low water crossings
    • Develop utilities that integrate this data into the warning process
  • Support the Emergency Management Community
    • Provide emergency management with data to assess local flood threatts
    • Detailed flood risk information for specific basins, streams and communities
    • Support effective flood risk assessment and mitigation activities
  • Improve Flash Flood Warning Response
    • More detailed flash flood warnings listing low water crossings
    • Create GIS enhanced flash flood warnings
    • Integrate findings from societal impact research
    • Develop flood safety campaigns

The end goal is to provide the public and other agencies with accurate and detailed flash flood warning information for the protection of lives and property. 

FFRAP Description

A number of complex factors influence the behavior of flash floods and the effectiveness of the flash flood warning process. The WSR-88D has demonstrated to be highly effective at estimating rainfall rates and amounts. However, flash flood behavior is influenced by basin geography and steepness, soil characteristics, antecedent soil conditions, vegetation and forest coverage, location of roads, land use and urbanized areas, etc. The effective management and assessment of such varied data further compounds the warning process.

The goal of this project is to develop utilities that integrate this data into the flash flood warning decision making process and provide more timely, accurate and detailed flash flood warnings.

In warning operations, the flash flood threat analysis tool would be used by the warning operator in conjunction with the Flash Flood Monitoring Program (FFMP) to assess the flood threat over a given area or basin. The tool by which this data will be analyzed will be developed as this project progresses but include detailed maps and charts, linked databases, photos of streams and flood prone areas, and web links. The maps would include detailed river basins, streams, flood prone areas, cities, roads, low water crossings, archived flood events, etc.

In addition, this data could be provided to the emergency management community to be used as a means of assessing local flood threats and mitigating flood risk. This data could be used to analyze flood prone areas and develop flood mitigation efforts prior to flood events, or assess the flood risk areas and instigate precautionary measures during a flood event.

In addition to the hydro-meteorological and physical processes, other socio-economic factors play a role in flash flooding including urban planning and warning response. This overall flash flood risk assessment will require the assimilation of data from a number of sources.

The flood analysis would be provided to emergency management and the general public via the internet. This system could be developed similar in style to the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services (AHPS) but contain information pertaining to flash flood potential and impacts.

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