South Asia seeks to improve flash flood early warnings

Source(s): World Meteorological Organization

In the South Asia region, flash floods account for a significant portion of the casualties and property damages that result from flooding. Given that flash floods can occur at any time or place, with potentially disastrous results, there is an urgent need to prioritize efforts that aim to improve early warnings capabilities.

WMO’s Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) seeks to strengthen the capabilities of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to issue timely and accurate flash flood warnings and to integrate these in their operational activities. It also seeks to foster coordination between NMHSs and disaster management authorities (DMAs).

The South Asia Flash Flood Guidance System was launched in 2016, covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) was selected as the regional centre to provide forecast products and data to the participating countries and conduct verification studies in collaboration with the NMHSs and WMO.

A hands-on train-the-trainers workshop was held from 5 to 7 June 2018 in New Delhi, India, following on-line training sessions and operational training in the United States of America.

The primary objective of the workshop was to evaluate the competency of forecasters to be future trainers of the Flash Food Guidance System. Participants had to provide in-depth analysis of past flash flood events in the region, simulating flash flood forecasting as well as the practices of disseminating effective flash flood advisories, watches and warnings to the public and DMAs.

After this workshop, the graduating trainers should be confident and competent to train other forecasters to use FFGS products for flash flood forecasting and the provision of early warnings. This will enhance collaborations between NMHSs and disaster management authorities, saving lives and reducing socio-economic losses.

"India Meteorological Department is looking forward to migrate from rainfall intensity/rain rate forecast services to that of assessing the flood generating potential of an impending rainfall occurrence at micro-watershed level through this South Asia Flash Flood Guidance System,” said India Meteorological Department Director General K.J. Ramesh.

”We are happy to serve our South Asian member countries in this endeavour, in collaboration with WMO. We are keen to work with other stakeholders to built effective response systems through fully leveraging the Flash Flood Guidance System’s potential to avoid major losses and to save livelihoods."

The Flash Flood Guidance System is supported by the World Meteorological Organization, the U.S. National Weather Service, the Hydrologic Research Center, and the U.S. Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

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