A review of advances in flash flood forecasting


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Abstract

Flash flooding is one of the most hazardous natural events, and it is frequently responsible for loss of life and severe damage to infrastructure and the environment. Research into the use of new modelling techniques and data types in flash flood forecasting has increased over the past decade, and this paper presents a review of recent advances that have emerged from this research. In particular, we focus on the use of quantitative precipitation estimates and forecasts, the use of remotely sensed data in hydrological modelling, developments in forecasting models and techniques, and uncertainty estimates. Over the past decade flash flood forecast lead-time has expanded up to six hours due to improved rainfall forecasts. However the largest source of uncertainty of flash flood forecasts remains unknown future precipitation. An increased number of physically based hydrological models have been developed and used for flash flood forecasting and they have been found to give more plausible results when compared with the results of conceptual, statistical, and neural network models. Among the three methods for deciding flash flood occurrence discussed in this review, the rainfall comparison method (flash flood guidance) is most commonly used for flash flood forecasting as it is easily understood by the general public. Unfortunately, no existing model is capable of making reliable flash flood forecasts in urban watersheds even though the incidence of urban flash flooding is increasing due to increasing urbanisation. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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