NEW DELHI: India has launched first of its kind Flash Flood Guidance services for India and other South Asian countries -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka -- to issue impact-based forecasting at the watershed and also city level, of floods which are very sudden and of short duration.
The Flash Flood Guidance is a robust system designed by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to provide the necessary products in real-time to support the development of warnings for flash floods about 6-12 hours in advance at the watershed level with a resolution of 4kmx4km for the Flash Flood prone South Asian countries -- India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
IMD has tested the performance of the system during recent monsoon seasons in the preoperational mode and the Flash Flood Bulletins were issued to National Hydrological and Meteorological Services in the Region for its validation. The system has in-depth science, dynamics, and diagnostics to provide guidance for the possible occurrences of flash floods at the local level.
Dr. M Mohapatra, Director General, IMD and Permanent Representative of India with WMO delivered the opening address, highlighted salient features of the system and appreciated the collaborative work done in the field of capacity building for forecasting hydro-meteorological hazards.
He assured the member nations that the Guidance for flash floods in the form of Threats (6 hours in advance) and Risks (24 hours in advance) will be provided by Regional Centre to National Meteorological & Hydrological Services, National and State Disaster Management Authorities, and all other stakeholders for taking necessary mitigation measures to reduce the loss of life and property in the South Asian Region countries.
Flash Floods are highly localized events of short duration with a very high peak and usually have less than six hours between the occurrence of the rainfall and peak flood. There is a general lack of flash flood warning capabilities and capacities of the nations across the world.
Recognizing that flash floods have a particularly disastrous impact on lives and properties of the affected populations, the Fifteenth WMO Congress had approved the implementation of a Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) project with global coverage that had been developed by the WMO Commission for Hydrology jointly with the WMO Commission for Basic Systems and in collaboration with the US National Weather Service, the US Hydrologic Research Center (HRC) and USAID/OFDA.
IMD has highly advanced capabilities with respect to computing power, Numerical Weather Prediction, vast observational network (ground, air, and space-based), and an internationally acclaimed Weather Forecasting System. Therefore, WMO has entrusted India with the responsibility of Regional Centre of South Asia Flash Flood Guidance System for coordination, development, and its implementation.