Kelly Mahoney

Image of Kelly Mahoney


Research Scientist


Hydrology Applications




Kelly is a NOAA Research Meteorologist in ESRL's Physical Sciences Laboratory/Hydrometeorology Modeling and Applications Team.

Kelly came to NOAA ESRL as a postdoctoral research fellow with UCAR's Postdocs Applying Climate Expertise (PACE) program. Her PACE appointment was supported by NOAA, the Western Water Assessment, and the US Bureau of Reclamation. She worked as a CIRES Research Scientist from 2011 - 2015, and joined NOAA in 2015.

Kelly's research background is in weather forecasting and severe weather, with a focus on extreme precipitation and the research applications thereof. Her research at NOAA ESRL has included work on warm season extreme precipitation events in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, and understanding how these types of events may change in future climate scenarios. She also works on many other regional studies, focusing more recently on problems at the atmospheric-hydrologic interface, seeking to improve understanding of how extreme events can be better anticipated from both atmospheric and hydrologic perspectives. She enjoys working with stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels to better inform water management, forecasting, and emergency preparedness.

Research Interests

  • extreme precipitation
  • climate change
  • weather forecasting
  • hydrometeorology
  • extreme event prediction


  • Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, North Carolina State University, Dec 2009
  • M.S., Atmospheric Science, North Carolina State University, Aug 2005
  • B.S., Meteorology, North Carolina State University, May 2003

Selected Publications

  • Mahoney, K. M., D. Swales, M. Mueller, M. Alexander, K. Malloy, M. Hughes, 2018: An examination of an inland-penetrating atmospheric river flood event under potential future thermodynamic conditions. J. Climate, 31, 6281–6297
  • Mahoney, K. M., 2016: The representation of cumulus convection in high-resolution simulations of the 2013 Colorado Front Range Flood. Mon. Wea. Rev., 144, 4265–4278.
  • Mahoney, K. M., D. Jackson, P. Neiman, M. Hughes, L. Darby, G. Wick, A. White, E. Sukovich, R. Cifelli, 2016: Understanding the role of atmospheric rivers in heavy precipitation in the southeastern United States. Mon. Wea. Rev., 144, 1617 – 1632.
  • Mahoney, K. M., F. M. Ralph, K. Wolter, N. Doesken, M. Dettinger, D. Gottas, T. Coleman, A. White, 2015: Climatology of extreme daily precipitation in Colorado and its diverse spatial and seasonal variability. J. Hydrometeor., 16, 781–792.
  • Mahoney, K. M., M. A. Alexander, G. Thompson, J. Barsugli, and J. Scott, 2012: Changes in hail and flood risk in high-resolution simulations over the Colorado Mountains. Nature Clim. Ch., DOI: doi:10.1038/nclimate1344.