Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-338
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
24 Oct 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Benchmarking an operational procedure for rapid risk assessment in Europe
Francesco Dottori, Milan Kalas, Peter Salamon, Alessandra Bianchi, Lorenzo Alfieri, and Luc Feyen European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Directorate for Space, Security and Migration, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra, Italy
Abstract. The development of methods for rapid flood mapping and risk assessment is a key step to increase the usefulness of flood early warning systems, and is crucial for effective emergency response and flood impact mitigation. Currently, flood early warning systems rarely include real–time components to assess potential impacts generated by forecasted flood events. To overcome this limitation, this work describes the benchmarking of an operational procedure for rapid flood risk assessment based on predictions issued by the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS). Daily streamflow forecasts produced for major European river networks are translated into event-based flood hazard maps using a large map catalogue derived from high-resolution hydrodynamic simulations. Flood hazard maps are then combined with exposure and vulnerability information, and the impacts of the forecasted flood events are evaluated in terms of flood prone areas, economic damage and affected population, infrastructures and cities. An extensive testing of the operational procedure is carried out by analysing the catastrophic floods of May 2014 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. The reliability of the flood mapping methodology is tested against satellite-based and report-based flood extent data, while ground-based estimations of economic damage and affected population are compared against modelled estimates. Finally, we evaluate the skill of risk estimates derived from EFAS flood forecasts with different lead times and combinations of probabilistic forecasts. Results show the potential of the real-time operational procedure in helping emergency response and management.

Citation: Dottori, F., Kalas, M., Salamon, P., Bianchi, A., Alfieri, L., and Feyen, L.: Benchmarking an operational procedure for rapid risk assessment in Europe, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-338, in review, 2016.
Francesco Dottori et al.
Francesco Dottori et al.
Francesco Dottori et al.

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Short summary
We present a method to use river flow forecasts to estimate the impacts of flood events in terms of flood prone areas, economic damage, cities and population at risk. We tested our method by simulating the catastrophic floods occurred in May 2014 in Southern Europe. Comparison with observed data shows that our simulations can predict flooded areas and flood impacts well in advance. The method is now being used for real-time weather forecasts to help emergency response and management.
We present a method to use river flow forecasts to estimate the impacts of flood events in terms...
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