Use of radar rainfall estimates and forecasts to prevent flash flood in real time by using a road inundation warning systemReport as inadecuate

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1 CRAHI-UPC, Edifici NEXUS 104-106, Calle Gran Capità 2-4, 08034 Barcelona, Spain

Abstract : Important damages occur in small headwater catchments when they are hit by severe storms with complex spatio-temporal structure, sometimes resulting in flash floods. As these catchments are mostly not covered by sensor networks, it is difficult to forecast these floods. This is particularly true for road submersions, representing major concerns for flood event managers. The use of Quantitative Precipitation Estimates and Forecasts QPE-QPF especially based on radar measurements could particularly be adequate to evaluate rainfall-induced risks. Although their characteristic time and space scales would make them suitable for flash flood modelling, the impact of their uncertainties remain uncertain and have to be evaluated.The Gard region France has been chosen as case study. This area is frequently affected by severe flash floods, and an application devoted to the road network has also been recently developed for the North part of this region. This warning system combines distributed hydro-meteorological modelling and susceptibility analysis to provide warnings of road inundations. The warning system has been tested on the specific storm of the 29-30 September 2007. During this event, around 200 mm dropped on the South part of the Gard and many roads were submerged. Radar-based QPE and QPF have been used to forecast the exact location of road submersions and the results have been compared to the effective road submersions actually occurred during the event as listed by the emergency services.Used on an area it has not been calibrated, the results confirm that the road submersion warning system represents a promising tool for anticipating and quantifying the consequences of storm events at ground. It rates the submersion risk with an acceptable level of accuracy and demonstrates also the quality of high spatial and temporal resolution radar rainfall data in real time, and the possibility to use them despite their uncertainties. However because of the quality of rainfall forecasts falls drastically with time, it is not often sufficient to provide valuable information for lead times exceeding one hour.

Keywords : Weather radar Flash flood Road inundation Forecast QPE–QPF

Author: Pierre Antoine Versini -



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