Flood Forecast Applications Bangladesh

Every few years, major floods engorge the Brahmaputra and Ganges Rivers for periods ranging from a few days to a month or more, often displacing tens of millions of people and devastating agricultural production. The two-day flood forecasts provided by the Bangladesh Flood Forecast and Warning Center were inadequate for preventing massive economic losses for the region.

CFAN quickly demonstrated that they could interact with the client and their stakeholders to develop an operational flood forecasting system and online decision support tools for the region. CFAN's extended range flood forecasting system is being applied operationally in Bangladesh to predict the probabilities that river water level heights will exceed critical levels, on time scales of 1-15 days, 15-30 days, and 1-6 months.


For the 2007 flood season, CFAN forecast high probabilities of the Brahmaputra flooding for July-August three months in advance using the seasonal climate model, and detailed forecasts of the flood onset and retreat were made 10 days in advance for both major flooding events. In 2007 a new experimental dissemination program brought warnings directly via a cell phone network to more than 100,000 residents in 5 rural provinces that were in the area most directly affected by the devastating flooding in August and September. On the basis of CFAN's forecasts, entire areas were evacuated ahead of the floods. Early harvesting of some crops occurred and livestock and belongings were saved. For the first time in Bangladesh, the National Disaster Management Committee acted preemptively rather than reacting to aftermath of a flood.


The figure below shows the real time flood forecast for the Brahmaputra River during 2008.