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Assessment of flood forecast products for a coupled tributary-Coastal model

January 27, 2021
Compound flooding, resulting from a combination of riverine and coastal processes, is a complex but important hazard to resolve along urbanized shorelines in the vicinity of river mouths. However, inland flooding models rarely consider oceanographic conditions, and vice versa for coastal flood models. Here, we describe the development of an operational, integrated coastal-watershed flooding model to address this issue of compound flooding in a highly urbanized estuarine environment, San Francisco Bay (CA, USA), where the surrounding communities are susceptible to flooding along the bay shoreline and inland rivers and creeks that drain to the bay. The integrated tributary-coastal forecast model (Hydro-Coastal Storm Modeling System, or Hydro-CoSMoS) was developed to provide water managers and other users with flood forecast information beyond what is currently available. Results presented here are focused on the interaction of the Napa River watershed and the San Pablo Bay at the northern end of San Francisco Bay. This paper describes the modeling setup, the scenario used in a tabletop exercise (TTE), and the assessment of the various flood forecast information products. Hydro-CoSMoS successfully demonstrated the capability to provide watershed and coastal flood information at scales and locations where no such information is currently available and was also successful in showing how tributary flows could be used to inform the coastal storm model during a flooding scenario. The TTE provided valuable feedback on how to guide continued model development and to inform what model outputs and formats are most useful to end-users.