HRC Participates in the Second Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) Global Workshop

The Second Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) Global Workshop was held in Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia from June 19-23, 2023. The workshop was sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and hosted by the National Hydrometeorological Service of the Republic of North Macedonia.

The event connected experts and representatives of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), National Disaster Management Agencies (NDMAs), United States Agency International Development (USAID), United States National and Atmospheric Administration (U.S. NOAA), stakeholders, and community representatives interested and involved with the regional and national Flash Flood Guidance Systems (FFGSs) from around the world. The main objectives of this workshop were to share experiences, showcase accomplishments, determine challenges and identify gaps, establish recommended practices, and focus on the operational sustainability and effectiveness of the FFGSs.

HRC was pleased to participate and interact with over 200 participants, including many familiar and new colleagues from the 20+ year history of implementations and support of FFGS. HRC members included Dr. Konstantine Georgakakos, Dr. Femi Osidele, Dr. Rochelle Campbell, Ms. Kayla Gorman, Dr.Theresa Modrick Hansen, Dr. Eylon Shamir, and Mr. Jason Sperfslage.

Dr. Georgakakos and Dr. Modrick Hansen presented on the new satellite precipitation product from NOAA, the Self-Calibrating Multivariate Precipitation Retrieval (SCaMPR), also referred to as Enterprise Rain Rate (ERR) product, and the status of this product introduction to FFGSs. Dr. Shamir provided an overview of the verification and FFGS Products and Warnings, emphasizing techniques and technical considerations. Mr. Sperfslage presented on the critical role and need for FFGS System Administration training. Furthermore, the Global Workshop allowed Ms. Gorman to interact and conduct informal interviews with Disaster Management Agency representatives, to obtain feedback on experience and understanding of FFGS systems.

Flash floods and their impacts are a critical issue around the globe. They are the most prevalent type of floods, accounting for about 85% of all flooding incidents. Flash floods are also the deadliest, with the highest rates of mortality compared to other types of floods. Thus, the capacity for early warning of flash floods was the impetus behind the Flash Flood Guidance System with Global Coverage (FFGS/WGC) program.

The Second Global Workshop’s key outcomes included the Skopje Statement (below).  This statement is a noteworthy acknowledgement of the value of FFGSs and derivative products, and of critical need to address sustainability needs to support and strengthen NMHSs in its use.

 

SKOPJE STATEMENT- Flash Flood Warnings Save Lives

The Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) has enabled regional and national authorities to save lives and reduce losses from flash flooding in 72 countries covering over 3 billion people. Flash floods remain the leading natural disaster and continue to be a threat to lives, livelihood and property. Climate change combined with unplanned development in flood prone areas will increase frequency and impact of these events.  Concerted global, regional, and national actions are needed to enhance existing systems and expand coverage to other countries, thereby advancing the Early Warnings for All initiative to increase safety and security of every citizen. We urge you, the decision makers and stakeholders to recognize the valuable benefits derived from the FFGS and take actions to strengthen the resilience of your country through supporting your National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in its implementation.”