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PICS: towards Integrated Nowcasting of Flash Flood Impacts

* See also the publication in the journal « Risques Infos – La revue des acteurs de la prévention des risques », November 2020 (in French)

Flash-flood forecasting systems are of crucial importance to mitigate the devastating effects of flash-floods. However, their development has experienced serious challenges, due to the large number of affected catchments, their small surface areas (1 to 500 km²), their very short response times (limited to a few hours), and the limited knowledge concerning exposure and vulnerability of risk-prone areas. In this context, the PICS project proposes a step forward by designing and evaluating integrated forecasting chains capable of anticipating the impacts of flash-floods with a few hours lead-time. This objective will be reached through interactions between an interdisciplinary scientific team of meteorologists, hydrologists, hydraulic engineers, economists, social scientists and operational actors (civil security, local authorities, insurance companies, hydropower companies, transport network operators).

Organization of the PICS project

The integrated short-range forecasting (or nowcasting) chains designed in the project will incorporate the following components: high resolution quantitative precipitation estimates and short range precipitation forecasts (or nowcasts), highly distributed rainfall runoff models designed to simulate river discharges in ungauged conditions, DTM based hydraulic models for the delineation of potentially flooded areas, and finally several impacts models aiming to represent varied socio-economic effects (insurance losses, inundation of critical infrastructures, and also dynamic population exposure and vulnerability).

The project will work towards effectively coupling these various modelling components, evaluating these components in terms of uncertainties and complementarity, and assessing the capacity of these nowcasting chains to meet the needs of end-users.

Funding: Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), Programme 2017

Coordinator: Olivier Payrastre (Ifsttar)

Partners: Ifsttar, CCR, Cerema, CNRM UMR 3589, Geosciences Rennes UMR 6118, IGE UMR 501, INRAE Aix-en-Provence & Antony,  MTES-SCHAPI

Start: 1 January 2018

Duration: 4 years (2018 – 2021); extended until 30 June, 2022


Contact @ INRAE Antony: Maria-Helena Ramos, Charles Perrin