An introduction to the NWS West Gulf River Forecast Center
Vol. 7 No. 1 (2016). Cover photo: Lake Austin Dam on the Colorado River, June 15, 1935. Photo CO8484, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.




The National Weather Service (NWS) West Gulf River Forecast Center (WGRFC), in cooperation with numerous federal, state, and local government entities, uses the latest science and technology to provide timely and accurate river forecasts in an effort to protect life and property for most of the river drainages in Texas. Disaster preparedness decreases property damage by an estimated $1 billion annually nationwide. The mission is to provide basic hydrologic forecast information for the economic and environmental well-being for the nation. The WGRFC is 1 of 13 river forecast centers within the United States and is located in Fort Worth, Texas. The WGRFC’s area of responsibility stretches from the Rio Grande in southern Colorado, New Mexico and south Texas eastward to the Sabine River along the Texas-Louisiana border. Other rivers in the center’s area of responsibility include the Pecos, Nueces, San Antonio, Guadalupe, Colorado, Brazos, Trinity, and Neches rivers. This article will describe the variety of hydrologic forecasting services routinely provided by the WGRFC. Although flood forecasts are its most well-known product, the WGRFC also generates river and water information used for recreation, reservoir operations, and water supply plans. Additionally, the WGRFC produces estimates of hourly precipitation. To achieve this, the WGRFC has 2 primary functions; a hydrometeorological function and a hydrologic function.  This article will describe each function and discuss how each function serves as steps in the preparation and the issuing of hydrologic forecasts.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

    1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
    2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
    3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).