The National Weather Service (NWS) has responsibility for the issuance of river forecasts and flood warnings. The Norman Forecast Office has river flood forecast responsibility for over 50 select locations on streams covering an area in the western two-thirds of Oklahoma (excluding the Oklahoma Panhandle) and 8 counties in western North Texas.
Why does the NWS issue river forecasts?
NWS River Forecast Centers (RFCs) use complex hydrologic computer models to generate river forecasts. The RFCs transmit the forecast guidance to local forecast offices, and the forecast offices use the information to issue river flood warnings or statements. The RFCs which provide forecasts for the NWS Norman office are the Arkansas-Red River Forecast Center (ABRFC) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the West Gulf River Forecast Center (WGRFC) in Forth Worth, Texas.
Most of the forecast points in the NWS Norman have telemetered river gage equipment. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, and other cooperating agencies provide funding for these stream-gaging networks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Tulsa District Water Control Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma provides links to real-time hydrographs and reservoir data. The USGS district offices in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and for Texas from the USGS, Austin, Texas also provide real-time data for Oklahoma and Texas, respectively.
The USGS and USACE operate most of their stream gages on a cooperative basis with other Federal, state, and local agencies that fund individual gaging stations for agency-specific projects or regulatory needs. For more information, see the USGS fact sheets, "Stream Gaging and Flood Forecasting, a partnership of the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Weather Service" and "Streamflow Information for the Nation."