Three projects funded by the European Union aim to support faster and more accurate flood warnings. The researchers behind Imprints, WeSenseIt and UrbanFlood have developed unique forecasting and alert systems to warn communities of impending floods.
In a press release, the European Commission elaborates on the three projects:
"Flood management and prevention is at the heart of the Imprints project which has developed an early warning platform to cut responses to flash floods down to about two hours, and even less – potentially giving people more time to get out of harm’s way. The platform is based on better rainfall predictions, using meteorological models and weather radar networks. The software is able to predict water flows on the ground and provide a full early warning system for flash floods, the amount of debris they might carry and any potential damage to local infrastructure.
Meanwhile, WeSenseIt, a project which ends in September 2016, makes good use of the power of human observation as an essential part of an early warning system. People contribute by taking measurements using new apps currently being developed by the project, and sending information and images by mobile phone.
The UrbanFlood project has developed sensors and related technology to monitor flood embankments and provide an early warning of their risk of failing. The underground sensors monitor the state of embankments and any changes to water levels, and other factors such as temperature, moisture and earth movements. The information is then assessed by the project’s modelling software, which can trigger an alert if there is a problem. The software calculates how fast the site will be flooded if the dam fails, and even suggests the best ways to move citizens to safer areas."