Office Training


The objective of training the staff is to prepare the forecasters to deal with hydrologic situations on their own. Hydrology is a station function, not only the job of the Service Hydrologist or Hydrology Focal Point. The Service Hydrologist and the Hydro Focal Point manage the program for the MIC, and are responsible for preparing the staff to deal with river flooding, flash flooding, and dam break issues, even when the SH/HFP is not available.

What every forecaster should know:

Training the staff will vary with each office. There are however certain things about the hydrology program in your office that the forecasting staff should be comfortable with. The forecasters should be able to:

w Identify the HSA on a map

w Know where the river forecast points are in the HSA

w Know the flood stage for each river forecast point

w Understand basic hydrologic terms

Know what an E-19 is, how to locate them, what information they contain and how it can be utilized to meet customers requirements

w Know what hydrologic products to issue for different hydro scenarios

w Know how to use a rating table

w Understand how to read and use RFC products

w Have a working knowledge of SHEF

w Know where to find the hydro documentation they may need (HSM)

Know how to use the different hydro systems in the office (WHFS, etc..)

Training can take on different forms: drills, seminars, one-on-one training etc. It is up the SH with the help of the SOO to decide what format is suited for what training material.

It is required that the Service Hydrologists and Hydrology Focal Points take the NWS Correspondence course titled "Operations of the NWS Hydrologic Services Program". It is highly encouraged that all staff members at the WFO take it as well.

List of References and text books:

The following references and text books should be available in your office, and can be helpful to help train the staff:

& All E Chapters from the WSOM, including ROMLs

& Automated Local Flood Warning Systems - NWS Hydrology Handbook No. 2

& WHFS Operational Manual (also available on the web)

& Operations of the NWS Hydrologic Services Program - Correspondence course

& SHEF - Weather Service Hydrology Handbook No.1

& Introduction to hydrology - 3rd edition by Warren Viessman, Gary Lewis and John Knapp (blue text book)

& Hydrology and Hydraulic Systems - by Ram Gupta (purple text book)

Training Examples

Here are examples of how four different Hydrology Program Managers train the staff in their office in hydrologic matters. These examples are only intended to give you training ideas for your own office.


Training Methods:

w A lot of one-on-one training to show staff new software or computer systems.

w Web-based training through case-studies and seminars for seasonal flood issues. The web-based case-studies are developed by the SH and SOO. They present a meteorological situation along with examples of hydrographs. The meteorologists are asked what hydrologic product they would issue and the text of their product for that situation. This method also allows the SH to target which individuals need further assistance.

w Drills: 4-5 hydrology questions are part of the office's spring and fall drills.

w Seminars. Topics include:

s Ice jam flooding

s How to read the new NWRFC product format

s Review of forecast points and flood problem areas

s Dambreak issues

Handouts are given after each seminar so the forecasters can refer back to the information. This also provides information for the staff members who could not attend the seminar.

w Web-based COMET training "Hydrology for the Meteorologist"

Instructions and Documentation available to the forecasters:

w Step by step instructions for making decisions concerning flood products.

Suggestions for promoting interest in hydrologic issues among the staff:

Training needs to be quick, efficient and pertinent to what the meteorologic staff is faced with. If the questions on the drills and case-studies are as true to life as possible, there is a definite willingness to learn more. A good example is the web-based study cases developed by the SH and SOO (see above). The web-based COMET training mentioned above was also well received by the staff because it takes them through a logical thought process to analyze the hydrologic situation.


Training Methods:

w A lot of one-on-one training. All new forecasters coming on station get 6 hours of hydro training. Important issues are usually covered in one-on-one sessions.

w Mini lectures each year about new subjects or changes in HSA operations. Important issues are covered in one-on-one sessions.

w Some issues are discussed at staff meetings, followed by a memo in the reading file.

w Drills: Short drills are administered every 6 to 9 months. The drills cover a singular topic or system, and are usually easy. They often involve group efforts, so not to discourage the forecasters. The goal of these drills is to make sure the meteorologic staff knows where to find the information they need for a particular situation, or how to use a particular system. Please refer to "drill examples #1, #2, #3, and #4 at the end of this chapter, for drill ideas.

Instructions and Documentation available to the forecasters:

w "River Products" binder. This is the 'how to' book for all hydrology products. It includes samples of all hydrologic products, when and why they are issued, instructions on the procedures used to generate them, phone numbers and CRS recording instructions.

Suggestions for promoting interest in hydrologic issues among the staff:

Interactive sessions work better than assigned reading.


Training Methods:

w One-on-one training with each meteorologist, HMT and manager to mostly ensure that they all know where to find the available detailed documentation.

Topics covered include:

s Mountain Mapper - use of specify (qpf) and verify programs.

s WinQPF - used to generate QPF for RFCs

s Review of E-19 and unusual issues with some river forecast points.

s Dam Break response procedures and documentation.

s Product headers and formats.

w Hydro correspondence course.

w COMET on-line hydrology training.

w Drills: Typically, there is an office drill in the fall covering winter weather. This drill includes river flooding and hydrology. There is also a drill in the late spring for the summer thunderstorm season, which addresses convection and flash flooding.

Examples of drills for this office are Drill Examples #5, #6 and #7 at the end of this chapter.

Instructions and Documentation available for the forecasters:

w Readily accessible manuals with quick reference sheets on the cover are available for :

s Dam Break issues

s Mountain Mapper

s E-19s

w Intranet

Suggestions for promoting interest in hydrologic issues among the staff:

Do not make drills too tedious. It helps if the Hydrology Program Manager shows interest and involvement in other aspects of office operations.


Training Methods:

w Training Seminars

w One-on-one training

w Operational Exercises. The Hydrology Program Manager archives hydrology data, satellite and model data, then plays this information back for the forecasters. They must then recognize flood situations, list products that should be issued, and update QPF if necessary.

Training outline:

This office has an outline of subjects to be covered during training seminars:

I. Hydrology Program

A. Hydro Documentation

B. Mountain Mapper Computer System / Software

II. Hydrologic Service Area

A. River Basin Locations

B. RFC Forecast Areas (this office deals with two RFCs)

C. Forecast Points vs. Data Points

III. Basic Hydrology Concepts

A. Basic River Definitions

1. River Channel

2. Flow and Stage

3. River Gages

B. Rating Tables

C. Headwaters and Locals

D. Crest-Crest Relation Plots

IV. Science of Hydrology

A. Hydrologic Cycle and the Meteorologist's Role

B. River Basin Definitions

C. Mean Areal Precipitation

D. Run-off Characteristics

1. Factors affecting Run-off

2. Methods for Estimating/Calculating Run-off

3. Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting Model

E. Unit Hydrograph

F. Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting

1. QPF as part of the hydrologic cycle

2. QPF as part of the river forecast input

3. UHG exercise w/ QPF input

G. Full fledged River Forecast Exercise

V. Hydrology Computer Systems and Software

A. Mountain Mapper

B. Internet Home page

VI. Daily Hydrologic Operations

A. Data Collection

1. Automatic

2. Manual

B. Data Quality Control

VII. Flood Operations

A. Identifying high run-off and potential flooding

B. Products

C. Staffing

D. Exercise

VIII. Dam Break Procedures

IX. Operational Exercises (playback past events and have staff go through normal routine)

A. Major Flood

B. High Run-off

C. Dam Break

Suggestions for promoting interest in hydrologic issues among the staff:

w If the Hydrology Program Manager (HPM) is met qualified, it is very helpful for him/her to work the met shift during a flood event, to allow the forecaster to work the hydro shift. The HPM is still available for questions, and the forecaster gains experience in hydrology.

w The staff needs to be involved in hydrologic meetings with other agencies or groups. The HPM should take another staff member along to those meetings, and occasionally, send someone else to the meetings.

w When on a trip to a river gage, the HPM should take someone from the staff along. This gives other staff members a better idea of what the HPM does when he/she is away from the office, and they get familiar with what a river gage looks like and how it operates.