Research Activities

Summary || Current Research Projects || Past Research Projects 

 

Summary

I am currently working on several research projects in the field of hydroclimatology. My Master of Science thesis is an abbreviated climatology of flash flooding over the southern Appalachian Mountains from 1996 to 2010. Using data collected from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), flash flood reports are geo-referenced and then analyzed both spatially and temporally across the region. I am also working with Dr. Jill Coleman in the Department of Geography to geographically expand the climatology to include the eastern United States (see below); we hope to publish our findings in Physical Geography within the next six to nine months.

I have worked on several research papers and presentations over the past several months, including:

During the summer of 2011 Dr. Coleman (co-author) and I produced two entries for publication in the Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change entitled "Floods" and "West Virginia." These articles are forthcoming (click links to view) and the encyclopedia is expected to be printed in mid-2012.

Snowville_HWM_sign

Community service has also become an increasingly important part of my life over the last couple of years. I have been an invited guest and speaker at several schools across southwest Virginia speaking about my knowledge of flooding and severe storms (see: Dublin Middle Schoolor Dublin Middle School pg 2).  I am an active member of the National Weather Service’s Skywarn program and am part of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS Station ID: IN-DL-17, MADIS ID: 1300B_MADIS).  In late 2011, I worked closely with the National Weather Service and the United States Geological Survey in raising community awareness about floods by donating the funds necessary to manufacture two official High Water Mark (HWM) signs.  These signs were recently installed in two communities (Snowville/Graysontown and Radford [PDF]) in western Virginia and mark the highest observed crest of river flooding on record. More information about the high water mark signs can be found here: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/water/high_water/. Future plans may include the installation of additional HWM signs along the New River in Pulaski County and the Roanoke River in Roanoke City, Virginia.

 

Current Research Projects  

Functions of Physiographic Features in High Intensity Flash Flood Events within areas of Complex Terrain of the Eastern United States (Ph.D. Thesis)
My dissertation research which is in the first stages of development...more info soon...
 

 

Past Research Projects  

Flash Flooding over the Southern Appalachians: An Abbreviated Climatology with Forecasting Methods and Techniques (M.S. Thesis)
Using GIS and remote sensing tools, a flash flood climatology is being developed for the southern Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States from 1996 to 2010; additional flash flood forecasting methods and techniques specific to that region are also being included which will aid operational forecasters in predicting such events. Results will be presented at the AMS 26th Conference on Hydrology and at the 2012 National Flood Workshop.
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The North American Blizzard of 2009: A Synoptic Review
This research project looked at the atmospheric conditions present at the synoptic and mesoscale levels during an early-season snow storm in Dec of 2009. What would later become known as the North American Blizzard of 2009, this storm produced record snowfall amounts for the month at numerous locations across the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions and resulted in seven fatalities.
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Surface Hydrology and Related Hazards - Delaware County, Indiana
Primarily hydrological in nature, this research project involved field work collecting information about each stream-road intersection in Delaware County, Indiana. Measurements were taken at each intersection (bridge, culvert, low-water crossing, etc) to determine how high the stream would have to rise to cause flooding of the neighboring roadway, thus causing a concern for motorists. Using a GIS, locations were located across the county where flooding could be a concern and where road closures might be necessary during flash flood events. This research went a step beyond that conducted in Virginia in that it analyzed LiDAR data for comparison.
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Dynamics of a Severe Tornadic Event in Southwestern Virginia and Northwest North Carolina on 8 May 2009
A remote sensing analysis of a severe storms that tracked across the Mid-Atlantic during May 2009
with an emphasis on the synoptic and mesoscale characteristics of a long-track supercell thunderstorm; a joint
project between the Department of Geography and the National Weather Service.
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Documentation and Analysis of Flash Flood Prone Streams in Montgomery County, Virginia

Very similar to the research conducted originally in Pulaski County, Virginia (see below) and was later expanded to Montgomery County, Virginia, and later to Delaware County, Indiana. However, this research did not analyze the local subwatershed basin characteristics. Stream-road intersections were identified and field measurements taken to determine the height required for a stream to overflow the adjacent roadway. Please see the Pulaski County article below for an example of this research.

Precipitation and Infiltration Evaluation for the Pulaski County Sewage Authority at Fairlawn, Virginia
This was a for-hire project in which precipitation measurements were compared to storm water and sewage drainage levels. Remote sensing tools were employed to evaluate archived radar data from past heavy storm events and determine what impact storm water runoff was having on the local drainage system.
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Documentation and Analysis of Flash Flood Prone Streams and Subwatershed Basins in Pulaski County, Virginia
The original hydrological research conducted in Pulaski County, Virginia in 2009. Stream-road intersections were identified and field measurements taken to determine the height required for a stream to overflow the adjacent roadway, creating road closure problems and potential life-threatening situations for motorists. Comparisons were made with past flash flood records from the National Weather Service and areas at risk for road closure during heavy precipitation events were identified.
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