National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Hazardous Heat Across the Western U.S.; Heavy Rain and Flooding in the Southwest and Western Gulf Coast

Dangerous heat will persist over portions of interior California, the Great Basin, and the northern Rockies through Thursday. Heat will gradually spread into the northern Plains today. Across the western Gulf Coast, heavy to excessive rainfall will persist through mid-week. Additionally, the Southwest Monsoon will continue to bring a flash flooding threat to the Four Corners Region this week. Read More >


Eastern Oklahoma & Northwest Arkansas
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The National Weather Service (NWS) has responsibility for the issuance of river forecasts and flood warnings. The NWS Tulsa office has hydrologic responsibility for 34 forecast points on streams and rivers covering an area of eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.

To issue these river forecasts, local NWS offices rely upon forecast guidance generated by a regional NWS River Forecast Center (RFC). The RFCs use complex hydrologic computer models to forecast rivers. NWS Tulsa is serviced by two RFCs, the co-located Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center (ABRFC) and the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center (LMRFC) in Slidell, Louisiana.


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Current and Forecast Information
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Past, Current, and Forecast Precipitation Information
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Most of the forecast points in the NWS Tulsa area have telemetered river gage equipment. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) own and/or maintain the vast majority of these river gages.

The forecasts of river stages is generated by complex computer models at the RFCs which incorporate many factors. The local NWS offices receive these river stage forecasts from the RFCs and generate public products under several headings:

Precipitation data is vital to river forecasting. Local NWS offices must supply the RFCs with precipitation data to input into their computer models. The ABRFC and the LMRFC precipitation gage data is blended with precipitation estimates from a network of WSR-88D radars to produce cumulative precipitation maps. This processed data is one of the main inputs into the RFC's hydrologic model.

In the past, river forecasts were made strictly on the basis of rainfall which had occurred. Today, river forecasts incorporate quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPF) into the hydrologic model, as well. This has led to more accurate river forecasts, especially in the fall and winter months, when areal rainfall tends to be more uniform.

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