No one is surprised by a flood

No one is surprised by a flood

Risk assessment, proper planning and mitigation are the cornerstones of any National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (NMHS) measure to reduce flood risks. Timely forecasts and warnings must be produced at the regional, national and local levels and be communicated through the appropriate authorities in language that they understand.

Current tools for flood prevention, mitigation and forecasting must incorporate important complementary data and a thorough understanding of water management and the dynamics of land use. Data and products relevant for flood risk assessment and management should be provided to stakeholders. Achieving this ambition will rely on further integrating end-to-end early warning systems for flood forecasting, the Flash Flood Guidance Systems (FFGS), the Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM), the Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP), together with the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) and the Global Data-processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS).

Flash Flood Guidance Systems (FFGS)

Flash floods are among the world’s deadliest natural hazards. They account for approximately 85% of all floods and have the highest mortality rate among all categories of flooding. Flash floods are sudden and short, with a time frame of less than six hours between the observable causative event and the flood itself, which tends to have a high peak discharge. Flash floods have enough power to change the course of rivers, bury houses in mud, and sweep away or destroy whatever stands in their path. They are complex hydrometeorological events that are hard to predict. Therefore, preparing for them requires expertise in hydrology and meteorology combined with knowledge of local conditions.

Flash Flood in Turkey

FFGS Global Project 

The FFGS Global Project aims to improve the capacity of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to issue flash flood warnings and alerts in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of hydrometeorological hazards. The FFGS enhances collaboration between national meteorological and hydrological services, disaster management agencies and other stakeholders and implements state-of-the-art hydrometeorological forecasting models and technology. It provides extensive training to the hydrologists, meteorologists and disaster managers. Since flash floods often cross-national boundaries, regional FFGS projects and cooperation are essential: thus FFGS fosters national, regional and global development and collaboration.

Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP)

Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP) facilitates the development of efficient forecasting and warning systems for coastal inundation based on robust science and observations, along vulnerable coastal areas. To do so, it integrate cross-cutting scientific models into an open forecasting environment for the purpose of improving/ expanding/ developing the forecasting and warning systems for storm surges, hydrological response to heavy rainfall and Tropical Cyclone landfall on coastal areas, and other phenomena causing coastal inundation.


The Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project Fiji (CIFDP-F) will develop and implement an open-source coastal inundation end-to-end operational forecasting and warning system, facilitate cross-cutting cooperation among different scientific disciplines and user communities, and provide specialized training for operators / forecasters and disaster managers. Coastal communities will benefit through the improved performance of national institutions responsible for coastal disaster forecasting, warning, and climate adaptation planning. Every year, populations in coastal zones are impacted by coastal inundation caused by waves, including long period swell, storm surges and hydrological inundation, resulting in loss of life and damage to property. The results of this project will provide critical information to improve forecasting, warning, and evacuation planning in coastal zones.

Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP)

The Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) was initiated to make Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), including Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS), products of the most advanced centres of the Global Data Processing and Forecasting System available to all WMO Members. Using a Cascading Forecasting Process, the Project makes global-scale products available to Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMC) that integrate and synthesize them in order to provide daily guidance for short-range and medium-range forecasts of hazardous weather conditions and weather related hazards to NMHSs in their geographical region. The limited bandwidth of many of the receiving NMHSs is taken into account – they receive products that they can easily download/visualize. Thus, the NMHSs are enabled to issue effective severe weather warnings to disaster management and civil protection authorities in their respective countries. Because NMHSs in a geographical region typically need similar products, the Project makes efficiency gains by coordinating their requirements.

Building Resilience to High-Impact Hydro-Meteorological Events through Strengthening Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and South East Asia project

This project will implement various WMO programmes and initiatives, including SWFDP amd FFGS (mentioned above). It will work with National Hydrological and Meteorological Services to augment their engagement in national and regional multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk reduction mechanisms by 1) increasing their access to and use of regional and global hydrometeorological data and products in order to support national development of impact-based forecasts and warnings and 2) by strengthening their capacity to develop impact-based hydrometeorological products and services to support policy makers and stakeholders in their decision-making on disaster risk mitigation and action plans.  



Global Data-processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS)

World Meteorological Centres workshop in Beijing, March 2019

Advances in Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) in the last decades have been tremendous thanks to more, and better assimilated, observations, higher computing power and progress in our understanding of dynamics and physics. These advances, which have led to increasingly skilful weather forecasting, will become even more relevant in the future. Consequently, the emphasis in operational meteorology, hydrology, oceanography and climatology has shifted towards the implementation of increasingly sophisticated and diverse numerical models and applications in order to serve an ever-increasing variety of users.

The Global Data-processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS) is made up of a worldwide network of operational centres operated by WMO Members. Its purpose is to make available to WMO Members agreed products and services for applications related to weather, climate, water and environment, 365 days per year, 24 hours per day. The GDPFS thereby enables scientific and technological advances made in meteorology and related fields to be shared as efficiently and effectively as possible among, and for the benefit of, all WMO Members.

Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM)

APFM webpage

The Associated Programme on Flood Management supports countries in the implementation of Integrated Flood Management (IFM) within the overall framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to maximize net benefits from the use of floodplains and to minimize loss of life and impacts.