5.4 Too much Water, Too little Time: Enhancing the Warning against Flash Flood Hazards in Southern Africa

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 11:15 AM
Room 10A (Austin Convention Center)
Eugene Poolman, South African Weather Service, Pretoria, South Africa

More than 90% of all natural disasters in Southern Africa are weather related, and the bulk of these are due to flash flooding. In an endeavour to develop early warning systems against weather related disasters in this data scarce region, a flash flood guidance systems (FFGS), based on remote sensing of precipitation and developed by the Hydrologic Research Center in San Diego, California, are in the process of implementation in the region in collaboration with regional meteorological and hydrological centres. The South African Flash Flood Guidance system (SAFFG), combining radar and satellite rainfall estimation techniques over selected urban regions, is running operationally in South Africa since October 2010. A regional version based only on satellite rainfall estimation and covering seven countries in Southern Africa, many of them least developing countries, has since been developed in a WMO lead programme and is tested in the region.

Experiences from the Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Project (SWFDP) of WMO in Southern Africa, as well as from the implementation of the SAFFG in South Africa, provided valuable lessons on the collaboration with disaster management structures for effective integration of guidance information from the FFGS systems in warning systems. This presentation will introduce the application of the FFGS within operational early warning systems in Southern Africa, highlighting examples of regional collaboration between national weather services, and the integration with disaster management decision support processes and systems.

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