IMD commissions Flash Floods Guidance Services in South Asia.

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23 October 2020.

Introduction:

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) launched the South Asian Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) on 23 October 2020. It is aimed at helping disaster management teams and governments to take timely action by making evacuation plans ahead of the actual event of flooding.

Highlights:

  • The service is first of its kind in the South Asian Region.
  • India is leading a delegation of nations, including Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, in sharing hydrological and meteorological data towards preparing flash flood forecasts.
  • India’s National Disaster Management Authority and the Central Water Commission have also partnered in this system.
  • Frequency of extreme rainfall events has increased due to climate change and south Asia is highly prone to flash floods.
  • A dedicated FFGS centre will be established in New Delhi, where weather modelling and analysis of rainfall data observations from member countries will be done.
  •  Flash flood threat warning will be issued six hours in advance, whereas flood risk warning will be issued 24 hours in advance.
  • Warnings about watershed level will be issued 12 hours in advance.
  • Forecasting flash floods can occur within three to six hours over a localised area and the water run-off quantity is very high. 

Flash Floods:

Flash floods are sudden surges in water levels during or following an intense spell of rain, occurring in short time duration over a localised area. The flood situation worsens in the presence of choked drainage lines or encroachments obstructing the natural flow of water.

Flash Flood Guidance System

  • It was approved at the fifteenth World Meteorological Congress.
  • It was designed by a US Non-Profit organization.
  • Usually the flash flood guidance systems are created based on two concepts namely Flash Flood Guidance and Flash Flood Threat:

·         Flash Flood Guidance

It is an index that indicates how much rainfall is required to overcome channel storage capacities and soil storage capacities to cause minimum flooding in a basin.

  • Flash Flood Threat

It is an index that provides an indication of areas where flooding occurs and where immediate action is shortly needed.

Flood Governance in India

  • Embankments are constructed. This has been implemented mainly along the course of Brahmaputra River. More than 5,000 km of embankments were built along Brahmaputra in the last six decades.
  • The Ganga Flood Control Commission was formed in 2006
  • The GoI has been focusing on constructing dams and porcupine bamboo structures to control floods.

Latest Flash Floods in India:

  • In the latest incident involving flash floods, Hyderabad city was battered by heavy rain, resulting in massive flooding which inundated roads, earlier this month.
  • The city recorded 191 mm of rain within the span of a few hours, the heaviest in 97 years recorded in October, several water bodies in Telangana’s capital breached danger levels, worsening the overall flood situation.
  •  Nearly 70 people lost their lives and many hundreds were displaced from their homes.
  •  Sangli, Solapur and Pune districts in Maharashtra also faced similar intense rain and flooding that claimed over 30 lives and damaged standing kharif crop.

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