Implementation of the Saint Lucia Flash Flood Guidance System

Project Kickoff Meeting
Location: St. Lucia
Sponsors: Department of Infrastructure, Ports and Energy of the Government of Saint Lucia
PI/Co-PIs: Dr. Konstantine Georgakakos
Collaborators: Saint Lucia Meteorological Services and Saint Lucia Water Resources Management Agency

HRC signed a contract on 24 October 2019 with the Department of Infrastructure, Ports and Energy of the Government of Saint Lucia to develop and implement the Saint Lucia Flash Flood Guidance system (SLFFGS) for the island.  HRC will be working closely with the Saint Lucia Meteorological Services (SLMS) and the Water Resources Management Agency (WRMA) to provide them with a system to help assess flash flood threats to provide warnings.  HRC will develop the system tailored specifically to the meteorological and hydrologic conditions in Saint Lucia and then install the system at the SLMS offices on servers procured by HRC.

The SLFFGS implementation is funded through a World Bank project, which begun after an assessment of Weather, Water and Climate Services for St. Lucia. The resulting assessment titled “Strengthening Operational Weather, Water, and Climate Services –ROADMAP for St. Lucia” showed the need to enhance the capacity to obtain real time high resolution hydrometeorological observed data and to access available satellite and radar rainfall estimates as well as digital mesoscale numerical weather model forecasts in order to produce needed flash flood forecasts and warnings.

The project was kicked off during an initial workshop held at the SLMS offices in Castries, St. Lucia from 16-18 December 2019 (see picture).  Key project tasks include flash flood basin delineation, satellite and radar rainfall data development and integration, model calibration, real-time data ingest, mesoscale forecast model integration, and training (workshops and online courses).  The system will feature the development and implementation of an automated failover capability with two identical SLFFGS systems installed on two different servers.  Rainfall estimates used by the SLFFGS will come from a variety of sources including satellite (Global HydroEstimator from U.S. NOAA/NESDIS and CMORPH from U.S. NOAA/CPC), available radar data from Martinique (Meteo-France) and Barbados (Barbados Meteorological Service) as well as in-situ rain gauges from upgraded networks operated by SLMS and the WRMA.  Mesoscale model data will be obtained from Meteo-France in Martinique as well as the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology in Barbados.