Video: In FLASH, forecasters now have richer data to predict fast-moving floods

In FLASH, forecasters have richer data to predict fast-moving floods.

Flash floods — raging torrents of water caused by heavy rainfall and overtopped rivers and streams — can become deadly in a matter of minutes.

Now, a new forecasting tool is helping NOAA meteorologists predict when and where these devastating events will occur.  

Developed by NOAA researchers, FLASH — short for the Flooded Locations and Simulated Hydrographs Project — combines real-time rainfall estimates with real-time surface models to supply forecasters better information and more confidence with which to issue flood warnings.

How it works

FLASH gathers rainfall data from multiple radars, combines it with information about the type of surface where rain is falling and creates a highly detailed forecast for when specific rivers and streams will flood and by how much. FLASH also provides historical context, helping forecasters communicate the significance of a predicted flash flood.

Watch our video to learn more about this latest addition to NOAA forecasters’ toolkit.

More > So, what causes extreme rainfall that can lead to flash floods? Check out this Q&A with our NOAA expert.