End-user’s sight on lead times of flood warnings

The last couple of weeks, I was conducting an online survey on different aspects related to the perception and applicability of specific flood warning products, distributed by the Saxon Flood Centre.

In this flood-warning context, I was wondering, what would be the smallest lead time which is considered sufficient by the end-users in order to undertake appropriate measures. Although the survey was carried out anonymously, I was able to correlate lead times and the area of the users’ focal catchments.

This is how it looks like:

Lead Times
Desired lead times vs. users’ (log) catchment area

Essentially, the results tell that there is only a slight tendency towards smaller (empirically) required lead times in smaller catchments. The question is, what moves people to desire a three-days lead time for a 40 square-kilometer catchment?

Another question would be: do people actually believe that hydrological forecasts with a three-days lead time in small catchments could be more accurate than quantitative precipitation forecasts? No doubt, anyone of the end-users would be OK with inaccurate three-days rainfall forecasts but does this apply for hydrological forecasts, especially if damage-prone events are not detected?

The survey covers a number of other interesting questions which are related to my current work in a way that I am trying to line out the interplay of end-users requirements and the technical feasibility of a limited area flood-early warning system for the Free State of Saxony.

Soon, I will inform on more results of the survey (a paper is in preparation).



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