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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 4
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 805–817, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-805-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 805–817, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-805-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  15 Apr 2010

15 Apr 2010

Application of a distributed hydrological model to the design of a road inundation warning system for flash flood prone areas

P.-A. Versini1, E. Gaume2, and H. Andrieu2 P.-A. Versini et al.
  • 1Centre de Recerca Aplicada en Hidrometeorologia UPC, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussées, Nantes, France

Abstract. This paper presents an initial prototype of a distributed hydrological model used to map possible road inundations in a region frequently exposed to severe flash floods: the Gard region (South of France).

The prototype has been tested in a pseudo real-time mode on five recent flash flood events for which actual road inundations have been inventoried. The results are promising: close to 100% probability of detection of actual inundations, inundations detected before they were reported by the road management field teams with a false alarm ratios not exceeding 30%.

This specific case study differs from the standard applications of rainfall-runoff models to produce flood forecasts, focussed on a single or a limited number of gauged river cross sections. It illustrates that, despite their lack of accuracy, hydro-meteorological forecasts based on rainfall-runoff models, especially distributed models, contain valuable information for flood event management.

The possible consequences of landslides, debris flows and local erosion processes, sometimes associated with flash floods, were not considered at this stage of development of the prototype. They are limited in the Gard region but should be taken into account in future developments of the approach to implement it efficiently in other areas more exposed to these phenomena such as the Alpine area.

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