Flash Flood Risk Analysis Project Partnership Symposium

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 Presented by National Weather Service Springfield Missouri

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supercell - photo by Herb Spickard


National Weather Service Springfield Missouri held the first annual Flash Flood Risk Analysis Project Partnership  Symposium December 8, 2008.

National Weather Service Forecast Office Springfield, Missouri in coordination with the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments hosted the Flash Flood Risk Analysis Project Partnership Symposium on the campus of Missouri State University. Over 60 participants representing federal, state and local organizations, private businesses, members of the public, education and research institutions and the media participated to foster open communication, joint partnerships through sharing of information and resources and to develop and incorporate mitigation and safety preparedness strategies regarding flooding in Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas.

Flash flooding in Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas poses a significant threat to life and produces a substantial loss each year to property and infrastructure,” says Steve Runnels, Warning Coordination Meteorologist.  5 fatalities due to flooding in the Ozarks have occurred in 2008. In addition, hundreds of vehicle water rescues with over 270 reports of flash flooding have been reported from an abundance of rainfall in the rocky and steep terrain of the Ozark Plateau. This year has been historically wet with 2008 ranking as the 3rd wettest on record in Springfield,  Joplin and West Plains and the 4th wettest in Rolla-Vichy.  Each of these locations has received over 50 inches of precipitation which is greater than 12 inches above the normal precipitation typically received. Notable flood events in 2008 include over 30 water rescues in Springfield on June 13th, nearly 40 water rescues in Stone County on June 28th and historical river crests and flooding along the Shoal Creek and the Gasconade, James, Elk, Jacks Fork, Big Piney and Gasconade rivers during heavy rainfall on March 18

Internationally recognized flooding expert, Dr. Eve Gruntfest, Director of Social Science Woven into Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, and Dr. Isabelle Ruin, Postdoctoral Fellowship National Center for Atmospheric Research, presented research on societal response and decision making during flooding events.

Participants from the State of Missouri Emergency Management Agency, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the United States Geological Survey, Missouri State University, staff of United States Senator Kit Bond and United States Senator Claire McCaskill, county emergency managers, area city staff, private businesses and members of the public attended. “The fostering of partnerships with these diverse stakeholders, integrated with social science along with meteorological research and forecast information will lead to more effective applications of flood information and response,” says Kelsey Angle, Meteorologist.

The purpose of the Flash Flood Risk Analysis Project is three fold:

  • Incorporate detailed physiographic, socio-economic and historical flood data that will lead to more detailed and accurate flash flood warnings, thus leading to more effective response by those in harms way.
  • Equip the emergency management community in coordination with warning preparedness activities of the National Weather Service to perform more effective flood risk assessment and mitigation prior to flooding and response efforts during and after a flash flood.
  • Provide the public and other agencies with more effective flash flood warnings, investigate the development of flood sensors and develop safety campaigns for the protection of life and property.

The Springfield National Weather Service Office county warning area includes 34 counties in Southwest Missouri and 3 counties in Southeast Kansas. The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community.

The Southwest Missouri Council of Governments is an association of local governments and serves as a regional planning organization. The purpose of the council is to provide technical and advisory services for community betterment in Southwest Missouri.



NOAA icon Flash Flood Risk Analysis Project  Andy Foster and Kelsey Angle - National Weather Service 

NOAA icon Flash Flood, Scales and Societal Impacts Dr. Isabelle Ruin - National Center for Atmospheric Research

NOAA icon Flash Flood Mitigation and Societal Impacts Dr. Eve Gruntfest - National Center for Atmospheric Research

NOAA icon Flood Response and Recovery  Dave O'Connor - MODOT Springfield District Maintenance Engineer

NOAA icon 2008 Missouri Floods  Randy Scrivner - Missouri State Emergency Management Agency 

NOAA icon Greene County Flash Flooding   Ryan Nicholls - Greene County Emergency Manager 

NOAA icon Taney County Flash Flooding  Chris Berndt - Taney County Emergency Manager 

NOAA icon Webster County Flash Flooding  Bill Sexton- Webster County Emergency Manager Presentation Notes

NOAA icon Newton County Flash Flooding  Gary Roark - Newton County Emergency Manager 

 A special thanks to all presenters!


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