Desert regions are characterized by a flashy hydrological regime. Flash-floods often disrupt the daily-routine by blocking transportation routes, causing damage to infrastructure and unfortunately also result in casualties. Flood forecasts and early warnings save lives and increase preparedness. Hence, Israel Water Authority and Israel Meteorological Service joined forces to establish the National Flood Forecasting Center to provide impact based forecasts and early warnings to the civil protection forces and relevant institutions.
The Flood Forecasting Center develops and operates various hydrological models and tools to compute the probability and magnitude of flash-floods in the arid regions of Israel. Modeling of arid streams is challenging and must be improved to achieve better forecasts. Models are being calibrated, validated, and tested against hydrometric ground measurements. However, most ground measurements are located at the basin’s outlets though in arid regions only part of the basin is active during rainstorms. The lack of intra-basin observations impairs our ability to improve model performance. In addition, soil moisture measurements, a key factor controlling stream flow generation, are sparse or lacking in arid regions and data is only available at a specific location.
Remote sensing may provide resolutions to overcome these challenges. The use of satellite post-flood stream flow mapping offers an exciting opportunity to validate and improve the performance of hydrological models, and assess their uncertainty. Satellite capabilities can also be tested for extracting soil moisture to improve hydrological models performance. The National forecast center intends to take such actions to improve its tools and services.