South East Europe gets new flash flood App

Source(s): World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Flash floods are among the most dangerous of all natural hazards. They are hydrometeorological phenomena with enough power to change the course of rivers, bury houses in mud, and sweep away or destroy whatever is in their path in a very short time after the observable causative event, and that is why they present a forecast challenge.

To address the issues, the Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) was designed and developed for interactive use by meteorological and hydrological forecasters throughout the world.

To support the daily operational work of South East European (SEE) forecasters and assist the participating National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) in making the decision of issuing of flash flood warnings, the Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) has now developed an application that generates e-mail alerts once the SEEFFGS indicates positive flash flood threats, and alerts forecasters on their mobile phones and e-mails. The App is providing forecasters with information about the possibility of flash flood occurrence, location (county and sub-basin), sufficient lead time to issue flash flood alert and warning, and other important information such as intensity of forecast precipitation and state of soil moisture.

This application is helping forecasters to be prepared for unforeseen weather and hydrological changes, no matter where they are – in the office, at home, on the field and it could be a life-saver before the time of a flash flood hazard.

This powerful heads-up notification application has been greatly appreciated by the member countries, and other regions expressed their interest to have the same tool to support decision-making and enhance service delivery.

“With FFGS e-mail alerts, all interested parties will be in a position to have valuable information at their disposal that is essential for issuing timely and accurate flash flood warnings.
In the situation of coronavirus outbreak, this is a valuable opportunity to share information quickly about potentially vulnerable flash flood regions as an output from the FFGS. Thanks to TSMS to create this very helpful application.”

“The e-mail alarm system is especially useful and easy to use. It significantly simplifies and speed up the flow of information to the forecasters and from forecasters to the decision makers when issuing alerts.”

Moreover, to ensure the continuous training of operational forecasters, in May 2020, even in the lock down situation, TSMS organized and conducted the online FFGS User training for 183 forecasters and other experts involved in weather forecasting and early warnings. TSMS also offered a kind assistance to the other countries, supporting the capacity building in the region.

This application is a great example how countries could develop derivative products using already operational FFGS, by enhancing delivery of flash flood warnings, regional cooperation, and the most important, contributing to save lives.

In January 2013, it was agreed to establish the South East Europe Flash Flood Guidance System (SEEFFGS) with nine member countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia making Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) in Ankara, Turkey the Regional Center. SEEFFGS is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and implemented by WMO and the Hydrologic Research Center (HRC).

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