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Advancing flash flood predictability

Flash floods are erratic by definition, occuring over a relatively short time frame and may cause the unwanted destruction of property and the tragic loss of life. There are a lot of methods and tools employed in predicting flash floods, but few are suitably accurate due to the complexity of gathering statistical data, Effective measurement of flash floods is a detailed task. A novel decision support system hopes to secure flash flood predictability.
Advancing flash flood predictability
Flash floods occur usually when rainfall over a large catchment area gathers in a central collection point. Depending on the river basin's size, the catchment area run-off and the volume of downpour, flash floods can vary in severity. The damage is further affected by man-made alterations to the area. Large-scale land development may significantly contribute towards flash flood likelihood due to the removal of natural barriers such as trees and brush. Regardless however, they almost always result in severe social and economic repercussions. As such predicting flash floods not only becomes a key element in curtailing devastation, but also for safeguarding against them.

Because a host of technical approaches are already available, the proposed technology offers a means by which to implement decision support ontology. The systems' primary concern is presenting understandable data that could predict flash floods and hence act as an early warning system. The programme provides access to heterogeneous legacy systems and modules, thus allowing users to accumulate coherent data from a multitude of sources. It also has scope for warning situation visualisation provided through both an intranet as well as the Internet terminals. Because the entire system is complaint with the World Wide Web Consortium of standards, it will provide no compatibility problems with mainstream Internet tools.

Currently a successful prototype has been operational in the Arno river basin in Italy since June 2002 conducting both reliability and accuracy tests. There is a second and more powerful system under development for which the developers are looking for various forms of support, including private-public partnership and further research and development support.
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