Abstract

A computationally efficient early warning technique is developed for forecasting flash floods during the pre-monsoon season that are associated with a complex topography and transboundary runoff in northeastern Bangladesh. Locally conditioned topographic and hydrometeorological observations are key forcings to the modeling system that simulate the hydrology and hydraulic processes. The hydrologic model is calibrated and validated using satellite-based observations to estimate the correct amount of transboundary and mountainous inflow into the flash flood-prone plains. Inflow is then forecasted using precipitation forecast from a global numerical weather prediction (NWP) system called the Global Forecasting System (GFS). The forecasted inflows serve as the upstream boundary conditions for the hydrodynamic model to forecast the water stage and inundation downstream in the floodplains. A real-time in-situ data-based error correction methodology is applied to maintain the skill of the system. The simulation grid size and time-step of the hydrodynamic model are also optimized for computational efficiency. Historical performance of the framework revealed at least 60% accuracy at 5-day lead-time in delineating flood inundation when compared against Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery. The study suggests that higher resolution topographic information and dynamically downscaled meteorological observations can lead to significant improvement in flash flood forecasting skills.

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