Small-scale (flash) flood early warning in the light of operational requirements: opportunities and limits with regard to user demands, driving data, and hydrologic modeling techniques
- 1Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology, Water, Soil, and Waste, 01109 Dresden, Germany
- 2Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology, Dresden University of Technology, 01069 Dresden, Germany
Abstract. In recent years, the Free State of Saxony (Eastern Germany) was repeatedly hit by both extensive riverine flooding, as well as flash flood events, emerging foremost from convective heavy rainfall. Especially after a couple of small-scale, yet disastrous events in 2010, preconditions, drivers, and methods for deriving flash flood related early warning products are investigated. This is to clarify the feasibility and the limits of envisaged early warning procedures for small catchments, hit by flashy heavy rain events. Early warning about potentially flash flood prone situations (i.e., with a suitable lead time with regard to required reaction-time needs of the stakeholders involved in flood risk management) needs to take into account not only hydrological, but also meteorological, as well as communication issues. Therefore, we propose a threefold methodology to identify potential benefits and limitations in a real-world warning/reaction context. First, the user demands (with respect to desired/required warning products, preparation times, etc.) are investigated. Second, focusing on small catchments of some hundred square kilometers, two quantitative precipitation forecasts are verified. Third, considering the user needs, as well as the input parameter uncertainty (i.e., foremost emerging from an uncertain QPF), a feasible, yet robust hydrological modeling approach is proposed on the basis of pilot studies, employing deterministic, data-driven, and simple scoring methods.