Civil and Environmental Engineering


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Environmental Modelling and Software 164 (2023) 105693



Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Accurate and timely flood prediction can reduce the risk of flooding, bolster preparedness, and help build resilience. In this study, we have developed a flood forecasting system prototype and checked its potential for carrying out operational flood forecasting in the state of Nebraska. This system builds upon some of the core components of the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), which is a state-of-the-art platform widely recognized around the world. We implemented our platform on a pilot basin in Nebraska (Elkhorn River basin) by installing eight stream sensors and setting up the hydrologic model component of IFIS, i.e., the Hillslope Link Model (HLM). Due to their importance in the Midwest, we particularly emphasized the snow processes and developed an improved HLM model that can account for different aspects of snow (rain-snow-partitioning, snowmelt, and snow accumulation) through simple parameterizations. Results show that the more thorough treatment of snow processes in the hydrologic model, as proposed herein, leads to better flood peak simulations. In this paper, we discuss different steps involved in developing the flood forecasting system prototype, along with the associated challenges and opportunities.

Supplementary materials attached below.