The land surface and the atmospheric boundary layer are closely intertwined with respect to the exchange of water, trace gases and energy. Nonlinear feedback and scale dependent mechanisms are obvious by observations and theories. Modeling instead is often narrowed to single compartments of the terrestrial system or largely bound to traditional disciplines. Coupled terrestrial hydrometeorological modeling systems attempt to overcome these limitations to achieve a better integration of the processes relevant for regional climate studies and local area weather prediction. This study examines the ability of the hydrologically enhanced version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF-Hydro) to reproduce the regional water cycle by means of a two-way coupled approach and assesses the impact of hydrological coupling with respect to a traditional regional atmospheric model setting. It includes the observation-based calibration of the hydrological model component (offline WRF-Hydro) and a comparison of the classic WRF and the fully coupled WRF-Hydro models both with identical calibrated parameter settings for the land surface model (Noah-MP). ... mehrThe simulations are evaluated based on extensive observations at the preAlpine Terrestrial Environmental Observatory (TERENO-preAlpine) for the Ammer (600 km2) and Rott (55 km2) river catchments in southern Germany, covering a five month period (Jun–Oct 2016). The sensitivity of 7 land surface parameters is tested using the Latin-Hypercube One-factor-At-a-Time (LH-OAT) method and 6 sensitive parameters are subsequently optimized for 6 different subcatchments, using the Model-Independent Parameter Estimation and Uncertainty Analysis software (PEST). The calibration of the offline WRF-Hydro gives Nash-Sutcliffe efficiencies between 0.56 and 0.64 and volumetric efficiencies between 0.46 and 0.81 for the six subcatchments. The comparison of classic WRF and fully coupled WRF-Hydro, both using the calibrated parameters from the offline model, shows nominal alterations for radiation and precipitation but considerable changes for moisture- and heat fluxes. By comparison with TERENO-preAlpine observations, the fully coupled model slightly outperforms the classic WRF with respect to evapotranspiration, sensible and ground heat flux, near surface mixing ratio, temperature, and boundary layer profiles of air temperature. The subcatchment-based water budgets show uniformly directed variations for evapotranspiration, infiltration excess and percolation whereas soil moisture and precipitation change randomly.