Cover: San Antonio, Texas, fire department rescuing a man who had been trapped on top of his car for 2 hours Saturday morning, October 17, 1998. (Photograph by Morris Goen/San Antonio Express-News Staff Photographer. Copyright © 1998 San Antonio Express-News.)
Torrential rains over south and southeast Texas during the weekend of October 17-18, 1998, led to widespread and deadly flooding. A total of 31 people died during this event, and property damage estimates approached three quarters of a billion dollars.
The event occurred within areas served by three National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service (NWS) field forecast offices and by one NOAA/NWS River Forecast Center. Due to the magnitude of this flood event, a Service Assessment Team was assembled to examine all aspects of the warning services provided by NWS offices to the citizens and public officials of the areas affected.
This Service Assessment highlights successful operational procedures and identifies shortcomings noted during this event. Findings and recommendations are presented which will be used in our ongoing efforts to continually improve NWS services for the citizens of this country.
John J. Kelly, Jr.
Assistant Administrator for Weather Services
|AWIPS||Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System|
|CDT||Central Daylight Time|
|cfs||cubic feet per second|
|CWA||County Warning Area|
|DCP||Data Collection Platform|
|EMWIN||Emergency Managers Weather Information Network|
|FFA||Flash Flood Watch|
|GBRA||Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority|
|GOES||Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite|
|HAM||Amateur Radio Operator|
|HPC||Hydrological Prediction Center|
|HSA||Hydrologic Service Area|
|HWO||Hazardous Weather Outlook|
|LAG/K||Lag and K Hydrologic Routing Procedure|
|LCRA||Lower Colorado River Authority|
|LMRFC||Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center|
|MIC||Meteorologist in Charge|
|NCEP||National Centers for Environmental Prediction|
|NEXRAD||Next Generation Weather Radar|
|NOAA||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
|NWRSAME||NOAA Weather Radio Specific Area Message Encoder|
|NWS||National Weather Service|
|NWSFO||NEXRAD Weather Service Forecast Office|
|NWSO||NEXRAD Weather Service Office|
|NWSRFS||National Weather Service River Forecast System|
|NWWS||NOAA Weather Wire Service|
|QPF||Quantitative Precipitation Forecast|
|ROML||Regional Operations Manual Letter|
|SFD||State Forecast Discussion|
|SHEF||Standard Hydrometeorological Exchange Format|
|SPC||Storm Prediction Center|
|SRH||Southern Regional Headquarters|
|USGS||U.S. Geological Survey|
|WGRFC||West Gulf River Forecast Center|
Service Assessment Team
This Service Assessment Team was formally activated on October 26, 1998, with all team members traveling to Texas on October 27. The team remained in Texas through November 1, collecting information pertaining to the flooding from a wide variety of sources, both within and outside the NWS. Before leaving Texas, the team completed the first draft of the report. After completion of the field work, the team continued to gather and review information before preparing the final version of this Service Assessment.
The team would like to thank those people with the following entities who took the time to be interviewed by team members while in Texas. Valuable information was gathered during these interviews.
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