The duties of the River Forecast Centers are to 1) Provide river and flood forecasts and warnings for the protection of lives and property, and 2) Provide basic hydrologic forecast information for the nation's environmental and economic well being.
The basic functions of the 13 River Forecast Centers are to...
- Continuous hydrometeorological data assimilation, river basin modeling, and hydrologic forecast preparation,
- Technical support and interaction with supported and supporting NWS offices,
- Technical support and interaction with outside water management agencies and users, and
- Applied research, development, and technological implementation to facilitate and support the above functions.
The RFC provides hydrologic guidance for time scales that vary from hours (flash flood guidance and support to Local Flood Warning Systems), to days (traditional flood forecasts), to weeks (snowmelt forecasts), to months (seasonal water supply) seen in the figure below.
The RFCs are firmly committed to providing the best possible river forecast guidance to the customers. Improvements come in the form of expanded coverage and increased quality. Efforts are continuously underway to improve the process used to forecast flooding, spring snowmelt, and water supply volumes.