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As a highly urbanized and flood prone region, Flanders has experienced multiple floods causing significant damage in the past. In response to the floods of 1998 and 2002 the Flemish Environment Agency, responsible for managing 1 400 km of unnavigable rivers, started setting up a real time flood forecasting system in 2003. Currently the system covers almost 2 000 km of unnavigable rivers, for which flood forecasts are accessible online ( The forecasting system comprises more than 1 000 hydrologic and 50 hydrodynamic models which are supplied with radar rainfall, rainfall forecasts and on-site observations. Forecasts for the next 2 days are generated hourly, while 10 day forecasts are generated twice a day. Additionally, twice daily simulations based on percentile rainfall forecasts (from EPS predictions) result in uncertainty bands for the latter. Subsequent flood forecasts use the most recent rainfall predictions and observed parameters at any time while uncertainty on the longer-term is taken into account. The flood forecasting system produces high resolution dynamic flood maps and graphs at about 200 river gauges and more than 3 000 forecast points. A customized emergency response system generates phone calls and text messages to a team of hydrologists initiating a pro-active response to prevent upcoming flood damage. The flood forecasting system of the Flemish Environment Agency is constantly evolving and has proven to be an indispensable tool in flood crisis management. This was clearly the case during the November 2010 floods, when the agency issued a press release 2 days in advance allowing water managers, emergency services and civilians to take measures.


Session R59, Real-time Control of Flood Events



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