Office of Water Prediction

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Office of Water Prediction

Post by unome » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:59 am



The Office of Water Prediction (OWP) collaboratively researches, develops and delivers state- of-the-science national hydrologic analyses, forecast information, data, decision-support services and guidance to support and inform essential emergency services and water management decisions. In partnership with NWS national, regional, and local offices, the OWP coordinates, integrates and supports consistent water prediction activities from global to local levels.

The Organization

The Office of Water Prediction (OWP) is a geographically distributed organization which includes elements in Maryland, Minnesota and Alabama. The OWP is designed to support a consistent and unified hydrologic program while maximizing efficient use of resources helping to ensure the NWS excels as a science-based service organization. The OWP will conduct development, field support and operational functions through projects and programs that address national, regional, and local needs and are led and supported by staff in multiple offices across the country. Initial activities of the OWP will be focused on support and development; operational functions will be identified and developed over time. Functional roles have been established in the OWP structure to coordinate and support this framework.

Water Information Interface

Welcome to our water information mapping interface. Please note, this is a work in progress. We are currently hosting 2 snow products, Snow Depth and Snow Water Equivalent to demonstrate the proof-of-concept. The Office of Water Prediction (OWP) currently provides a range of water information through the following web sites.

River observation and forecast information:
Snow Information:
Precipitation Frequency Estimates:

Content from the sites above will be migrated to this new site over the next couple of years.

The OWP National Water Center is scheduled to begin producing water information from our National Water Model (NWM) in August 2016 which will be hosted at this site. Information about the NWM output displayed on this map interface can be found in this Product Description Document. In addition, more information about the NWM is available at .

Comments? Questions? Please Contact .

The National Water Model (NWM) is a hydrologic model that simulates observed and forecast streamflow over the entire continental United States (CONUS). The NWM simulates the water cycle with mathematical representations of the different processes and how they fit together. This complex representation of physical processes such as snowmelt and infiltration and movement of water through the soil layers varies significantly with changing elevations, soils, vegetation types and a host of other variables. Additionally, extreme variability in precipitation over short distances and times can cause the response on rivers and streams to change very quickly. Overall, the process is so complex that to simulate it with a mathematical model means that it needs a very high powered computer or super computer in order to run in the time frame needed to support decision makers when flooding is threatened.

The NWM is expected to complement current hydrologic modeling which is done in a simplified manner for approximately 4000 locations across the CONUS by providing information at a very fine spatial and temporal scale at those locations, as well as for locations that don’t have a traditional river forecast.