Combining Orographic Precipitation and Runoff Models for Improving Reservoir Operations

by J. Owen Rhea,
Curtis L. Hartzell,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Hydrology


This paper reports on a study being conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation whose end objectives are improved quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) for use in hydrologic runoff models to improve reservoir operations. The study area is the American River Basin in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California. The area experiences occasional relatively warm winter storm episodes of heavy precipitation which produce flooding potential. Key features of the study are an orographic precipitation model by Rhea and the HED71 operational flood forecasting runoff simulation model developed by staff members of the National Weather Service California-Nevada River Forecast Center and the California Department of Water Resources. The encouraging results demonstrate the potential operational applicability of the method by using the Oakland upper air measurements for the first several hours and then using the predicted upper air conditions for orographic precipitation model input for later time periods.

Subject Headings: Precipitation | Runoff | Hydrologic models | Forecasting | Simulation models | Mathematical models | Rivers and streams | United States | Nevada | California

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