Global Flash Flood Guidance Program

Location: Global
Sponsors: Coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization
Collaborators: World Meteorological Organization, U.S. Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service, National Meteorological and Hydrologic Services worldwide

HRC has designed and is implementing regional flash flood guidance early warning systems globally with its partners, the World Meteorological Organization, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service and the U.S. Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.  The partners have signed a quad-parte Memorandum of Understanding for the “Flash Flood Guidance System with Global Coverage Project”

The system is implemented on regional and country scales and uses flash flood guidance as the basis for trained forecasters at National Meteorological and Hydrologic Services to use operationally to develop flash flood watches and warnings.   Important technical elements of the Flash Flood Guidance and Warning System are the development and use of a bias-corrected satellite and radar precipitation estimates, the configuration and implementation of mesoscale weather prediction models for high resolution surface precipitation fields, and the use of physically-based hydrologic modelling to determine flash flood guidance and flash flood threat for basins on the order of 150-200 km2 (or 25-50 km2 for radars).   In addition to research and technical development and implementation of systems, the project includes extensive technical training programs on flash flood prediction for country meteorological/hydrologic service personnel.  Systems have been implemented or underway for the following regions: Central America, Southern Africa, Black Sea/Middle East, Southeast Asia, Haiti/Dominican Republic, Southeast Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, Pakistan/Afghanistan, South Eastern Asia Oceania, Northwest South America (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger) and the following individual countries: Myanmar, Romania, Mexico, Oman,  Viet Nam, Fiji, the Republic of South Africa and St. Lucia.

The Flash Flood Guidance systems provide a series of products, in near real-time including satellite, radar and gauged-based precipitation estimates, soil moisture, flash flood guidance, flash flood threat (both current and forecast), mesoscale model-based rainfall forecasts (to 24 hours), and snow areal coverage/water equivalent/melt, and landslide hazard threat.  The systems are also being adapted to include stream routing and urban flash flooding assessments.

An important aspect of the implementation and subsequent operations of the Flash Flood Guidance systems worldwide is the verification of its products.  Product verification by the system users provides a more effective use of the Flash Flood Guidance system products and increases the reliability of the flash flood warnings that utilize the system products.  HRC has developed guidelines for verification for the Users of the Flash Flood Guidance System products (Verification Guidelines for the Flash Flood Guidance System Component Products and Derivative Warnings).

Note the article on the global flash flood guidance program by Dr. Konstantine Georgakakos of HRC in the WMO Bulletin Special Issue on Water

Output from the Southeast Europe Flash Flood Guidance System is now on display at the main entrance to the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.  The display is interactive allowing visitors to access various products from the system.


Additional information can be found at the following World Meteorological Organization information page.