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FEWS for CHPS Pilot

NEWS AND ACTIVITIES (in reverse chronological order)

April 2008

The CHPS Acceleration Team (CAT) delivered a report (available here) to Gary Carter, Director OHD, on January 9, 2008 recommending that the NOAA Hydrology Program proceed with FEWS as the infrastructure component for CHPS. Gary subsequently accepted and approved the recommendation and named Chris Dietz in OHD to lead the CHPS implementation project.

HSEB successfully led the CHPS Pilot Enhancements project through HOSIP Gate 4 on February 20, 2008. The CHPS Pilot project has now achieved its goal; therefore no further enhancements will be developed. Instead, OHD will focus its efforts on the operational implementation of CHPS.

January 2008

As of January 1, 2008 WL | Delft Hydraulics became part of Deltares, an independent Dutch institute. Visit for more information.

At a workshop hosted by the NCRFC in Chanhassen, MN during the week of December 17, Delft Hydraulics (now Deltares) presented and demonstrated the final version of the CHPS FEWS Pilot system. The most recent set of enhancements include:

  • Install the Pilot at ABRFC (3rd Pilot site, joining NWRFC and NCRFC)
  • Develop a MODs-like capability for the SAC-SMA model states
  • Configure all Pilot sites as client-servers (formerly standalone)
  • Provide additional segment definitions for the Santiam River for NWRFC
  • Provide more in-depth training to all Pilot sites; and more detailed documentation
  • Provide access to SNOW-17 (replaces Delft’s SNOWMELT in the original Pilot)

At the end of the first day of presentations, the CHPS Acceleration Team (CAT) concluded that it was ready to make a recommendation to the NOAA Hydrology Program Manager (Gary Carter, Director OHD) concerning use of FEWS for CHPS. Based on the CHPS FEWS Pilot system, the team is now satisfied that FEWS is a comprehensive platform which can be adapted to meet the current operational needs of NWS RFCs (i.e., is a suitable foundation for an NWSRFS replacement); and additionally has the potential to meet future needs of CHPS as a whole.

The CAT is now in the process of preparing a final recommendation paper to be delivered to the OHD Director.

During the upcoming weeks the CAT will work closely with Deltares and other contractors to define a migration strategy which will introduce the first operational version of CHPS at all RFCs. HSEB expects to present details of the strategy to HICs at the HIC meeting in Silver Spring in January 2008.

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October 2007

On August 15 RTi led a kick-off meeting for the CHPS FEWS Pilot Enhancements project. To recap, these enhancements include:

  • Installation of the Pilot at ABRFC (3rd Pilot site, joining NWRFC and NCRFC)
  • Develop a MODs-like capability for the SAC-SMA
  • Configure all Pilot sites as client-servers, not standalone as now
  • Provide additional segment definitions for the Santiam River for NWRFC
  • Provide more in-depth training to all Pilot sites
  • Provide access to SNOW-17 (replaces Delft’s SNOWMELT in the existing Pilot)

A workshop to demonstrate these new features is scheduled for December, at NCRFC. During a discussion in early September, the CAT agreed that the term ‘Initial Operating Capability (IOC)’ will refer to the suite of functionality at the CHPS FEWS Pilot sites that will enable those sites to abandon use of NWSRFS as their primary forecasting tool. Delft recently proposed a user interface design for the MODs-like feature, and held a meeting to review and discuss with the CHPS Acceleration Team (CAT) members in late September.

HSEB, through its RSIS contract, completed testing of the SNOW-17 model and adapter for use within the CHPS FEWS Pilot system, and delivered the code to Delft. HSEB also developed and delivered segment definitions for all basins of the Pilot sites. In response to a request at the July meeting of HICs in Silver Spring, MD HSEB invited all RFCs to participate in its "chps_fews_pilot" list server forum. The list quickly reached its membership limit and has since been increased to accommodate.

July 2007

Installation of the CHPS FEWS Pilot system at NWRFC and NCRFC occurred this quarter; Delft demonstrated the system in Portland, OR during the week of April 15. Those in attendance included: OHD, the Bonneville Power Administration, RTi, Apex Digital Systems, Delft, RSIS, and the CHPS Acceleration Team (CAT) members. Beyond the success of the demonstration, CAT members recognized immediately that additional functionality is required for the Pilot system to be viable. In response to this, HSEB initiated a contract task with Delft through RTi to implement the following:

  • Installation of the Pilot at ABRFC
  • Develop a MODs-like capability (the "what-if scenarios" are inadequate for operations)
  • Configure all Pilot sites as client-servers, not standalone as now
  • Provide additional segment definitions for the Santiam River for NWRFC
  • Provide more in-depth training to all Pilot sites

HSEB expects Delft to begin work on these additional tasks in July or August. Meanwhile, Apex distributed an early version of the Pilot evaluation criteria document to the CAT; however in the absence of the additional functionality described above, the CAT members suggested that the evaluation effort be postponed until all functionality is complete.

April 2007

In February 2007 HSEB delivered the Java-based implementation of Victor Koren’s Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting (Heat Transfer) model, along with the adapter, to Delft for inclusion in the FEWS Pilot system. This is the first demonstration of a successful science-to-operations migration made possible by the new CHPS environment.

During March, Delft visited NCRFC and NWRFC and began setting up the FEWS Pilot system in preparation for the demonstration which is due to take place the week of April 16 at NWRFC. Several representatives from OHD will attend the demo.

Once the FEWS Pilot system installation (and demonstration) is complete, a 6-month evaluation period will begin. HSEB has engaged Apex Digital Systems to conduct this independent evaluation.

January 2007

CHPS Realization Plan
Apex conducted monthly meetings with OHD and members of the CHPS Acceleration Team (CAT: CNRFC, ABRFC, NWRFC, NCRFC, and OHD’s Senior Scientist). The original goal of the meetings was to elicit operational needs of the member RFCs, and to define a sequence of practical steps (projects) towards CHPS realization. However, as reported in the last newsletter, a meeting in September revealed a strong and clear desire by the CAT to introduce a completely new suite of forecasting software not based on the legacy NWSRFS.

On October 16 Apex organized a demonstration of WL | Delft’s Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) for the CAT. The outcome was that the CAT now considers FEWS a viable solution. The "Evaluate FEWS for CHPS" contract task was re-defined to provide a working demonstration ("pilot") of FEWS in an RFC environment. Apex concluded their work on the Realization Plan in December. Main recommendations included:

  • Complete the FEWS Pilot
  • Complete the ResSim project (also FEWS based)
  • With FEWS knowledge, make decision for CHPS
    • Share findings with Raytheon (for AWIPS II)
  • Define the broader set of requirements for a new forecasting environment
  • Full operational roll-out

Under contract to WL | Delft Hydraulics via OHD HSEB’s contract with RTi, work on this task began on September 26.

The work is divided into two phases:

  • Phase 1, develop a conceptual solution and generate an implementation plan
  • Phase 2, implement the solution

The Pilot system is scheduled to be completed in April 2007.

Delft and RTi led a project kick-off meeting on October 17. During the months of October and November, Delft and RTi conducted a series of interviews with CAT members to elicit basin configuration information for selection of the best candidate RFC for the pilot demonstration. The two RFCs selected to run the Pilot were NWRFC and NCRFC.

Delft and RTi traveled to Silver Spring and on December 1 gave OHD a presentation of their Phase 1 findings and recommendations. Phase 2 is now underway.

As a risk reduction activity, OHD has also formed a small development team, led by RSIS, to integrate the new SAC-SMA Heat Transfer model (also known as the new Frozen Ground model, developed by Victor Koren) into FEWS. The RSIS team leader is an experienced Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) practitioner with a thorough understanding of design and development of services, Ms. Sudha Rangan.

On September 27 OHD met with the Raytheon architect from Omaha to discuss the role of CHPS in AWIPS II. OHD provided a very detailed review of the NWSRFS architecture and design. Apex – who is also Raytheon's SOA subcontractor for AWIPS II – shared their knowledge of Delft FEWS with Raytheon. Raytheon acknowledged they had underestimated the complexity of NWSRFS, and seemed willing to accept contributions that would advance AWIPS II. OHD agreed to keep Raytheon apprised of progress on the FEWS Pilot project.

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October 2006

In the autumn of 2006 OHD received the clear and strong message from the CAT that their approach for CHPS was not going to work for two main reasons:

  1. Simple re-engineering would effectively freeze introduction of new capabilities at River Forecast Centers (RFCs), potentially for several years. One of the original CHPS projects (RRS Preprocessor) was specifically rejected by field representatives at HOSIP Gate 2 for this reason.
  2. The existing software infrastructure of the NWSRFS is so out of date, and requires such a high level of maintenance, that it is no longer cost effective to keep it in service. The bulk of the NWSRFS infrastructure software focuses on a 1970's era need to streamline computer resources in ways that are now handled by hardware and operating systems. The "core" capabilities of the NWSRFS are a small portion of the entire software package; these capabilities are the only things that must be retained in a CHPS environment.

The CAT’s desire was to consider a completely new infrastructure, not hindered by limitations of the existing NWSRFS design.

On 16 October, 2006 Apex Digital Services hosted a live web-based demonstration of the FEWS for the CAT. The CAT concluded that FEWS has significant potential to become a replacement for NWSRFS, and they requested that OHD develop a demonstration system based on FEWS but functioning in a NWS (RFC) environment.

July 2006

On the CHPS front, two new exciting initiatives were begun in June:

CHPS Realization Plan Definition
The purpose of this task is to bring together several thought leaders within OHD and at the River Forecast Centers (RFCs) to define this specific vision and to create sufficiently detailed plans to bring CHPS into daily reality. In June OHD awarded the task to Apex Digital Systems, Inc. Apex will begin the task in July by initiating a "discovery engagement" with all stakeholders.

Evaluate FEWS for CHPS
WL | Delft’s DELFT-FEWS software package, developed originally for the U.K. Environment Agency, is based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) concepts, and uses technology almost identical to that used for the CHPS Proof Of Concept (POC). OHD believes that the DELFT-FEWS ready-made suite of SOA and modeling capabilities could accelerate CHPS implementation by several years, yielding significant savings for the Government, and providing RFCs with much-needed improvements far sooner than originally envisioned. The purpose of this task is to conduct a pilot study of DELFT-FEWS for NWSRFS.

Manuel Mattke, President & CEO of Apex Digital Systems, Inc., will attend the July 2006 HIC meeting in Kansas City, MO to brief the new CHPS implementation approach with Jon Roe.

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