Can we predict the next urban flood? A case study of rain nowcasting and real-time flood simulation

Søren Thorndahl, Jesper Ellerbæk Nielsen, David Getreuer Jensen, Mathias Thomas Lautrup Jepsen, Mikael Kjærgaard Laursen, Michael R Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


Flooding produced by high-intensive local rainfall and drainage system capacity exceedance can have severe impacts in cities. In order to prepare cities for these types of flood events – especially in the future climate – it is valuable to be able to simulate these events numericallyboth historically and in real-time. There is a rather untested potential in real-time prediction of urban floods. In this paper radar data observations with different spatial and temporal resolution, radar nowcasts of 0-2 hours leadtime, and numerical weather models with leadtimes up to 24 h are used as inputs to an integrated flood and drainage systems model with the purpose to investigate the potential for predicting future floods. The system is tested on a small town Lystrup in Denmark, which has been recently flooded. Results show that it is possible to generate detailed flood maps in real-time with high resolution radar rainfall data, but rather limited performance in predicting floods with leadtimes more than half an hour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Conference on Urban Drainage Modelling
EditorsThomas Maere, Sovanna Tik, Sophie Duchesne , Peter A. Vanrolleghem
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationQuébec
Publisher10th International Urban Drainage Modelling Conference
Publication date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventInternational Conference on Urban Drainage Modelling - Québec, Canada
Duration: 20 Sep 201523 Sep 2015
Conference number: 10


ConferenceInternational Conference on Urban Drainage Modelling


  • Pluvial flood modelling
  • Real-time modelling of drainage systems
  • Radar nowcasting
  • Numerical weather models


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