JBA Consulting in partnership with Network Rail have developed and set up a new surface water flood alerting system, designed to get the information within ensemble rainfall forecasts directly to responders, to help with their decision-making.

JBA recently expanded their Flood Foresight forecasting system to provide asset alerting around heavy rainfall and surface water flooding. The system represents a major advance in the availability of hazard information for rail infrastructure. Taking advantage of ensemble rainfall forecasts, it gives an indication of rainfall location and severity, as well as providing information on the confidence in that forecast.

The system can also be extended to other sectors where population, assets or infrastructure are vulnerable to surface water flooding. It was demonstrated in a proof-of-concept system, working in partnership with Network Rail during a Small Business Research Initiative project funded by Department for Transport and delivered by InnovateUK.

The project overview demonstrates a number of benefits, including:

  • Use of best available rainfall forecast data that can resolve the type of rain that creates very intense, often short duration, rainfall events (convective rainfall cells)
  • A method of managing the uncertainty in the rainfall forecasts (multiple forecasts, referred to as a forecast ensemble, are used to create a probability of flooding map)
  • Uses existing, mature technology and data to map the surface water flood likelihood ahead of the event and link the mapped surface water flood information to Network Rail’s assets to assess flood risk in real-time.

This partnership illustrates that by collaborating directly with responders, JBA consulting were able to help them to get the information that they need to make more effective decisions.