Flash Flood Detection Capabilities
Many flash floods go unobserved and unreported in New Mexico because significant portions of this large state are rarely visited. Aside from human reports, NWS meteorologists use data from a variety of other sources to determine if flash flooding is occurring and who may be impacted. Below we listed our most important data sources. Since forecasters are not in a position to visually confirm flash flooding themselves, they must frequently peace together clues from a variety of information sources to gain enough confidence to issue a flash flood warning.
Cartoon with a scale symbolic of the warning decision making process
  • Observation network: weather observations, cooperative observers, rain gages, and river gages
  • Doppler weather radars
  • Satellite precipitation estimates
  • Snow cover and snow melt data
  • News media, law enforcement, and public reports

Next we will examine the flash flood detection limitations, which require greater explanation.

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