About Ms. Sherry Chen
Sherry Chen is a naturalized U.S. Citizen from Beijing, China. She worked for Missouri State government with the Department of Natural Resources for over 11 years before being hired by NOAA/NWS to work at the Ohio River Forecast Center (OHRFC) in Wilmington, OH. Sherry worked tirelessly at the OHRFC, to the point of developing carpal-tunnel syndrome in fingers of her right hand because of repeated mouse-clicks while working on the development of the Ohio River Community HEC-RAS Model. The aim of the model, which is the largest HEC-RAS model implementation in the nation at that time (now over 2000 miles of continuously modeled reach), is to significantly improve flood prediction along the Ohio River and its tributaries. The model is a joint effort by the OHRFC and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); because of the ‘Community’ nature of the Ohio River Community HEC-RAS model, the having of such a model is critical to the mission of the Army Corps of Engineers and National Weather Service.
However, substantial geographic information system (GIS) work must be done to geo-register the channel cross-section data, extend the cross-sections into floodplain areas, which must include levees and dams that protect communities from flooding, bridges, and off-channel storage areas. Sherry Chen came to the OHRFC in March 2007. She was a critical member of the team at the OHRFC, where she was the hydraulic modeler, who was responsible for setting-up the model in great detail — inches matter, because it represents the difference between leveed being over topped or not, including possible levee failure, leading to significant loss of property and, possibly, lives. Sherry is and was dedicate to getting the details right — and that matters significantly. Everyone she worked with, including many with the Army Corps of Engineers know this about Sherry. The efforts of the team’s hard work paid off significantly by receiving the 2011 National Weather Association (NWA) Larry R. Johnson Special Award “for development of and operational success with the Ohio River Community HEC-RAS Model during May 2011 Ohio and Mississippi River flooding." Sherry worked many long hours for a several week period to get the best possible HEC-RAS model results to aid the USACE in their operational decision making during this record-setting flooding event.