Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OU Student Awarded $90,000 to Study Recent Flash Floods

May 16, 2011

A University of Oklahoma civil engineering and environmental science graduate student recently was awarded a 2011 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellowship to research flash flood prediction.

Gina Hodges, OU graduate and Atmospheric Radar Research Center student, will receive $30,000 a year for the next three years to investigate her proposed research topic, Prototyping a Flash Flood Prediction System Using Next Generation Radar Observations and Stormscale Rainfall Forecasts.

"It is my goal to improve the current methods used for flash flood prediction to protect lives and property of the public," said Hodges. "In order to accomplish this goal, I will use an interdisciplinary approach combining my background in meteorology, hydrology and social sciences."

This interdisciplinary method will be applied to recent flash floods that occurred during the spring of 2010 - specifically, the Nashville, Tenn., flood that inundated the Grand Ole Opry House, the deadly Arkansas campground event and the urban Oklahoma City event. The three events chosen were recent with significant impacts and can be studied to prevent such costly and deadly results in the future, according to Hodges.

"Gina was awarded the Outstanding Senior in Meteorology award last year, and she is now pursuing a master's degree in water resources engineering," said Yang Hong, Hodges' adviser and OU College of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science associate professor and School of Meteorology adjunct professor. "Her research is part of the end-to-end, high-impact event prediction system development that integrates meteorology, weather radar remote sensing and hydrological modeling approaches. I have been impressed by Gina's ability to understand and solve problems in her innovative flash flood prediction study."

"The goal of her study is to develop and demonstrate a system that will increase the forecast lead time and identify specific locations about to be impacted by flash floods, and I am confident that her research will have broader impacts in the U.S. National Weather Service and beyond," said Jonathan J. Gourley, research hydrometeorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Severe Storms Laboratory and Hodges' co-adviser.

Provided by The University of Oklahoma

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