National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce



The ABRFC staff consists of a Hydrologist-In-Charge (HIC), a Development and Operations Hydrologist (DOH), a Service Coordination Hydrologist (SCH), Senior Hydrologists, Hydrologists, a Senior Hydrometeorological Analysis and Support (HAS) Forecaster, Hydrometeorological Analysis and Support Forecasters, and an Administrative Support Assistant.

The role of the RFC staff is to prepare stage, flow, volume, or velocity forecasts for the next five or more days; extended range stage, flow, volume, or ice melt forecasts for more than 1 week into the future; flash-flood guidance; and related types of products. The basic data needed for such forecasts includes rainfall, water content of snow, current river conditions, temperature, wind and evaporation. Forecasts of seasonal snow melt or water-year runoff are prepared monthly in areas where snow is the principal source of stream flow. Additionally, RFC activities include calibrating hydrologic models, maintaining real-time hydrometeorological databases, and being involved in interagency planning activities, forecast coordination, and data exchange.

The HIC provides managerial and technical oversight for all RFC activities. He/She is involved in many cooperative efforts with other NWS offices and outside water management agencies. The HIC directs the staff effort to maintain and improve the entire suite of RFC services. HICs provide first-line supervision for the entire RFC staff and are the most knowledgeable person on overall operations.

The DOH provides direction for the integrated implementation and operational support of high levels of technology used at the RFC. DOHs collaborate with the Office of Hydrology (OHD) as well as with the regional headquarters to effect implementation and continual upgrading of advanced hydrologic software systems such as the Community Hydrologic Prediction System (CHPS). DOHs have overall responsibility for assessment of data and forecast systems deficiencies and provide direction for system modification and enhancements. Continual oversight of hydrology/hydrometeorology-specific training for the RFC staff is another important DOH responsibility. As the second-most senior person in the RFC, the DOH serves for the HIC in his/her absence.

The SCH leads the RFC effort to identify and meet customer requirements for hydrologic service and information. SCHs collaborate and coordinate with WFOs and state, regional, and federal water management and emergency management customers and partners. SCHs review RFC products, services, and information for adequacy to customer and partner operational needs, both of a routine and an emergency nature. SCHs also represent the RFC at conferences, conventions, and workshops related to the RFC mission. SCHs develop educational and outreach programs specifically designed to acquaint customers with the RFC hydrologic forecast, service, and information program. SCHs also assist with the RFC’s hydrologic forecasting and HAS function.

Senior hydrologists lead the daily hydrologic forecast operations of the RFC. In addition, senior hydrologists have in-depth expertise in one or more specialty areas such as flash flood hydrology, extended-range streamflow forecasting, hydrometeorological data systems, computer systems, or advanced modeling techniques. Senior hydrologists apply their area of expertise toward the procedure development needs of the RFC. They also provide advice and training in their area(s) of expertise to hydrologists, HAS forecasters, and hydrologic interns. Senior hydrologists also assist with the RFC's HAS functions.

Hydrologists perform the daily hydrologic operations of the RFC, including both hydrologic forecasting duties and operational support. As mentioned above, operational support involves procedure development activities such as calibration of soil moisture parameters for specific basins, optimization of streamflow routing coefficients, or developing new components for NWSRFS. Hydrologists also handle focal point duties. HAS shifts and duties are also performed by the hydrologists on a routine basis.

The Senior HAS forecaster provides overall program leadership of the HAS activities at the RFC. The Senior HAS forecaster monitors the performance of the HAS functions by the other RFC personnel, identifies where changes will benefit operations, and leads the development of new hydrometeorological procedures. They also specify local office policies for performance of routine HAS functions.

The HAS forecasters have designated responsibility for the HAS functions in each RFC. HAS functions facilitate hydrometeorological operations at an RFC and capitalize on the high-resolution data sets and computational power provided by NWS observation technologies. HAS functions can be summarized as follows:

  • Interactive processing, quality control, and assimilation of real-time hydrometeorological data, especially radar-based precipitation fields.
  • Assimilation and quality control of hydrometeorological forecasts such as quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPF) and temperature forecasts for input into the RFC operational forecast system.
  • Analysis of upcoming hydrometeorological events, coordination with other NWS offices and cooperators, and production of hydrometeorological discussions and other coordination products.
  • Hydrometeorological verification, with an emphasis on identification and correction of past error tendencies in precipitation estimates, QPFs, and temperature forecasts.
  • Liaison efforts to improve WFO-RFC interaction and cooperative support activities.
  • Hydrometeorolgical technique development and improvement (as time and duties permit), especially as they relate to performance and enhancement of HAS functions.

The Administrative Support Assistant performs administrative duties such updating time and attendance files, maintaining station correspondence files, processing incoming telephone calls, and distributing mail at ABRFC.