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The Flash Flood Guidance System
The Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) is a tool developed to improve the capacity of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and Disaster Management Agencies (DMAs) to issue flash flood warnings and alerts, and by doing so, mitigate the adverse impacts of hydrometeorological hazards.
The system provides operational forecasters (from meteorological and hydrological settings) and disaster management personnel with both, real-time information and diagnostic products, to improve their capacity to produce and issue timely and accurate flash flood warnings. These products include remote-sensed precipitation data from radar and satellite-based rainfall estimates, and hydrological models. Furthermore, to permit the assessment of local flash flood threats, FFGS allows product adjustments based on the forecaster’s experience with local conditions; incorporation of information, such as Numerical Weather Prediction outputs; and additional local observations, including non-traditional rain gauge data or local observer reports.
The video below gives a brief overview of how FFGS supports the development of timely warnings that can help countries to safeguard their economies and save countless lives.
The FFGS Project with Global Coverage
The FFGS Project aims to achieve a major goal: to implement the FFGS on a regional basis throughout the world. Each implementation should fulfil the 8 objectives of the Project.
Since flash floods often cross national borders, the use of the same system approach within a region can facilitate international collaborations, which in turn, can encourage regional coordination of efforts.
The Project was launched in 2009 and is supported by four partners: the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service (NWS), and the Hydrologic Research Center (HRC); and three donors: the U.S. Agency for International Development/The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Climate Risk Early Warning System (CREWS), and the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Since then, this initiative has been providing extensive training to hydrologists, meteorologists and disaster managers on the use of FFGS.
By 2020 various FFGS projects had already been implemented. This status indicates that FFGS is used in over 60 countries, providing the capability of issuing flash flood early warnings to about three billion people.
Map showing the FFGS Projects with Global Coverage (status in 2020).
The benefits generated by FFGS are well captured in the video testimonies given by users worldwide.
For more information about the FFGS Programme, please see the FFGS website.