Flash floods are among the world’s deadliest natural disasters with more than 5 000 lives lost annually. Their social, economic and environmental impacts are significant. Accounting for approximately 85% of flooding cases, flash floods also have the highest mortality rate among different classes of flooding, including riverine and coastal. Flash floods differ from river floods in their short time scales and occurrence on small spatial scales, which makes flash flood forecasting a different challenge from large-river flood forecasting.
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Normal to above normal rainfall is most likely during the 2021 southwest monsoon season (June – September) over most parts of South Asia, according to an authoritative seasonal forecast from the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF) released on 27 April.
The South Asia Flash Flood Guidance System (South Asia FFGS) has been officially launched, ushering in the prospect of improved early warnings for a major natural hazard in one of the world’s most populated regions.
Below-normal rainfall is likely during the 2020 October – December (OND) season over the southern parts of South Asia including some parts of extreme southeastern India and most parts of Sri Lanka and Maldives, which climatologically receive good amount of rainfall during the season, according to the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum.
Unusually heavy monsoon rainfall and flooding is affecting India and neighbouring South Asian countries, as well as China and Japan. This has caused major disruption, displacement and loss of life, and once again highlighted the importance of national meteorological and hydrological services in protecting public safety.