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PREFACE


A decaying tropical system, previously known as Tropical Storm Alberto, produced torrential rainfall which resulted in some of the worst flooding ever observed across portions of the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida during July 1994. The rainfall led to exceptional flooding across central and western Georgia, eastern Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. Five river basins were particularly hard hit: (1) the Flint River Basin in western Georgia, (2) the Ocmulgee River Basin in central Georgia, (3) the Chattahoochee River Basin along the Georgia-Alabama state line, (4) the Choctawhatchee River Basin in Alabama, and (5) the Apalachicola River Basin in Florida. The flooding claimed 33 lives and caused damages estimated at close to $750 million. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) disaster survey team assembled for its first meeting in Peachtree City, Georgia, on the morning of July 18, 1994. All aspects of weather and flood warning systems--from data acquisition to user response--were surveyed to determine NOAA's effectiveness and to recommend improvements if deficiencies were found. This report gives the results and findings of the survey team.

The survey team consisted of the following individuals:

    Dr. William H. Hooke, Team Leader, Program Director for Weather Research, Office of Atmospheric Research, Silver Spring, Maryland

    Christine Alex, Meteorologist, Office of Meteorology , National Weather Service Headquarters, Silver Spring, Maryland

    Aris Georgakakos, Professor of Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia (independent consultant)

    Anton Haffer, Meteorologist in Charge/Area Manager, NEXRAD National Weather Service Forecast Office, Phoenix, Arizona

    Edwin May, Deputy Regional Hydrologist, Hydrologic Services Division, Southern Region Headquarters , National Weather Service, Fort Worth, Texas

    Debra Van Demark, Technical Leader, Hydrologist, Office of Hydrology, National Weather Service Headquarters, Silver Spring, Maryland

Background and overview information on the hydrologic situation, which appears in Chapter 1 , was contributed by Scott Kroczynski of the Hydrologic Information Center, Office of Hydrology, Silver Spring, Maryland. Graphics support was provided by Paul Hrebanach of the Office of Hydrology. Descriptions of the meteorological conditions and forecasts, which are presented in Chapter 2 , were contributed by Bruce Terry of the Meteorological Operations Division, National Meteorological Center, Camp Springs, Maryland, and Edward Rappaport of the National Hurricane Center , Coral Gables, Florida. Debra Anderson, Program Assistant in the Office of Hydrology, edited and formatted this report into a camera-ready document for publication.

The team was divided into two groups during parts of the survey so that the wide geographic area of impact could be covered efficiently. One group, composed of Alex, Georgakakos, and May, traveled through Georgia and the eastern portion of the Florida Panhandle. The other group, composed of Haffer, Hooke, and Van Demark, concentrated on Alabama and the western portion of the Florida Panhandle. During the week, the two teams coordinated their progress by meetings and telephone calls. The survey team conducted its field work on Monday, July 18, through Friday, July 22, 1994. The entire survey team met in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, July 23, 1994.

The consensus of the survey team was that overall NOAA provided good, high-quality services throughout this event. The report discusses successful features of NOAA's services program, as well as recommendations for areas needing improvement.

William H. Hooke Team Leader




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