About the ABRFC
Mission: The ABRFC provides technical support to the National Weather Service's efforts to provide river and flood forecasts and warnings for protection of life and property and to provide basic hydrologic forecast information for the nation's economic and environmental well-being.
Area of Responsibility: The ABRFC area of responsibility includes the drainage area of the Arkansas River above Pine Bluff Arkansas and the drainage area of the Red River above Fulton Arkansas. This comprises over 208,000 square miles and includes portions of seven states.
History of the ABRFC
The National Weather Service authority as the U.S. Government entity responsible for providing flood forecast services is established in Article 1 of the Constitution, the "Organic Act" of 1890 (15 USC 313) and the "Flood Control Act" of 1938 (33 USC 706).
The ABRFC was founded as the Tulsa River Forecast Center in December 1947, partially in response to the record floods of March-April 1945 in the Arkansas and Red River basins. The area of responsibility has essentially remained unchanged through the years, except that in its early years, the center forecast points on the Arkansas and Red Rivers all the way downstream to their confluence with the Mississippi River. By 1974, its forecast area had changed slightly to its current configuration, the Arkansas River basin above Pine Bluff, AR and the Red River basin above Fulton, AR.
The RFC was selected as the first prototype site for modernized RFC technologies and operations. In this capacity, the RFC developed several advanced techniques and procedures that will be integral to hydrometeorological operations in the modernized era. In 1991, the center was renamed the Arkansas-Red Basin RFC to better convey the area of responsibility.
The ABRFC staff totals 15 persons. The Hydrologist-in-Charge is the manager of the office and there is one Administrative Support Assistant. The bulk of the staff are professional hydrologists and meteorologists.
The ABRFC provides for a nominal staffing of 16 hours per day, seven days per week. Normal business hours are 6:00 AM until 10:00 PM. ABRFC operational policy dictates 24-hour coverage when current or expected hydrometeorological conditions warrant.
Primary operational duties include hydrologic forecasting, hydrometeorologic analysis and support (HAS) functions and the monitoring/quality control of associated data sets which are input/output to/from operational computer models.
The hydrologic forecaster is responsible for the daily production of river forecasts, flash flood guidance, data summary products, execution of the river forecast computer model and coordination of river forecasts as required. The HAS forecaster is responsible for preparing the observed and forecast precipitation and temperature input for the river forecast model, the Graphicast, and coordinating and supporting of the hydrologic forecaster and the NWS Forecast Offices (NWSFOs).
Other operational functions are performed on a seasonal or as needed basis. These functions include production of water supply forecasts, flood outlooks and drought summaries.