Enterprise Awards2017

One to watch

Real-time flood nowcasting to support emergency responders

Category finalist

Dr Dapeng Yu, Professor Rob Wilby and Dr Mingfu Guan - Department of Geography
Photograph showing a flooded urban street

Dr Dapeng Yu, Professor Rob Wilby and Dr Mingfu Guan have been developing techniques for high-resolution urban flood nowcasting – a technology for predicting floods up to 48 hours away.

Their method combines weather forecasts from the Met Office with city-scale flood modelling. These are computationally demanding tasks, so the work has involved installing high-performance servers and connections to stream live data from the Met Office to Loughborough.

Forecasts of heavy rain are used to simulate street-level surface water flooding. The resulting live visualisation tools will be used by city managers, the Fire and Rescue Service, and Ambulance Service to plan routes that avoid flooded areas or to strategically place equipment.

Funded by NERC, the pilot system is being evaluated by project partners, including Atkins Global; Cabinet Office; Department for Communities and Local Government; Environment Agency; Leicester City Council; Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Prepared; the Met Office; and Transport Scotland.

It will eventually be hosted by Cabinet Office to help emergency teams avoid flooded parts of the road network – ultimately saving lives.