National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


The MBRFC staff consists of one Hydrologist-In-Charge (HIC), one Development and Operations Hydrologist (DOH), one Service Coordination Hydrologist (SCH), four Senior Hydrologists, eight Hydrologists, one Senior Hydrometeorological Analysis and Support (HAS) Forecaster, two Hydrometeorological Analysis and Support (HAS) Forecasters, and one Administrative Support Assistant.

The role of the RFC staff is to prepare stage and flow forecasts for rivers and reservoirs through the next five to seven days, extended range stage and flow forecasts for more than one week; 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 Hydrologist in Charge 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 Development and Operations Hydrologist provides direction for the integrated implementation and operational support of high levels of technology used at the RFC. DOHs collaborate with the Hydrologic research Laboratory (HRL) and the Hydrologic Operations Division (HOD) of the Office of Hydrology as well as with the regional headquarters to effect implementation and continual upgrading of advanced hydrologic software systems such as the NWS River Forecast System (NWSRFS) Interactive Forecast Program. 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 Service Coordination Hydrologist leads efforts to collaborate and coordinate with WFO's and state, regional, and federal water management and emergency management customers and partners. In addition, the SCH builds professional relationships in order to identify and meet operational requirements and develop effective communication procedures for use during flood or other significant events. The SCH also reviews RFC products, services, and information for adequacy to customer and partner operational needs, and recommends adjustments, enhancements, and additions to current RFC products, services, and information to meet evolving customer needs.

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 duties include word processing, distributing mail, and finalizing correspondence documents, technical papers, etc., written by the staff. Other administrative duties include updating time and attendance files, maintaining station correspondence files, and processing incoming telephone calls.