Evaluation of Hurricane Harvey (2017) rainfall in deterministic and probabilistic HWRF forecasts
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Evaluation of Hurricane Harvey (2017) rainfall in deterministic and probabilistic HWRF forecasts
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    Atmosphere, 11
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    Rainfall forecast performance was evaluated for the first time for the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model. This study focused on HWRF performance in predicting rainfall from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. In particular, two configurations of the 2017 version of HWRF were investigated: a deterministic version of the Basin-scale HWRF (HB17) and an ensemble version of the operational HWRF (H17E). This study found that HB17 generated reasonable rainfall patterns and rain-rate distributions for Hurricane Harvey, in part due to accurate track forecasts. However, the estimated rain rates near the storm center (within 50 km) were slightly overestimated. In the rainband region (150 to 300 km), HB17 reproduced heavy rain rates and underestimated light rain rates. The accumulated rainfall pattern successfully captured Harvey’s intense outer rainband with adequate spatial displacement. In addition, the performance of H17E on probabilistic rainfall has shown that the ensemble forecasts can potentially increase the accuracy of the predicted locations for extreme rainfall. Moreover, the study also indicated the importance of high-resolution dynamical models for rainfall predictions. Although statistical models can generate the overall rainfall patterns along a track, extreme rainfall events produced from outer rainbands can only be forecasted by numerical models, such as HWRF. Accordingly, the HWRF models have the capability of simulating reasonable quantitative precipitation forecasts and providing essential rainfall guidance in order to further reduce loss of life and cost to the economy.
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