Lack of observed data has been a problem in the past, hampering the understanding of hydrological processes at work during flash floods, and consequently, in forecasting river basin responses to extreme precipitation.
Observational limitations mainly stem from the fact that flash floods develop at spatial and temporal scales that conventional observation systems of rainfall and river discharge are not able to monitor. As these events are locally rare, they are also difficult to capture during traditional field-based experimentation, designed to last a few months over a limited area.
Four pilot areas (also called Hydrometeorological Observatory (HO) areas) were chosen for studying these issues:
Cévennes-Vivarais (Southern France
Dige River (North Eastern Italy)
Besos River and Barcelona (Catalunya, Spain)
Ardennes (France, Belguim, Netherlands, Luxemburg and Germany)
Specific objectives of this pilot study were to:
Develop a data-collection strategy for flash flood events and the systematic archive of physical and socio-economic data concerning major flash floods.
Test the flash flood forecasting system developed in Task 15 and Task 16.
Investigate the warning programme for communicating and alerting the general public about flash floods (in close collaboration with Task 11).
Summary information regarding the four pilot areas is available in the following languages: