Flood Foresight review of July 2021

Flood events were never far from the news headlines in July 2021. From the devastating floods affecting communities across Central Europe, to the intense summer rainstorms and surface water flooding impacting many locations across the UK.

In our latest Flood Foresight review, we look back at some of the flood events in July 2021, exploring the associated weather systems and the locations affected.

Flood events in Central Europe

Between 12-15 July, a low-pressure system stalled across central Europe bringing excessive rainfall in a short period to countries including Germany, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands and Austria. This intense rainfall led to severe and widespread flooding, with tragic consequences including loss of life, and destruction of infrastructure, homes and businesses. These types of severe flood events are devastating for individuals and for communities. By Monday 19 July the number of lives lost in Germany had reached 196 with a further 749 reported injured, and a further 31 fatalities were reported in Belgium.(1)

Our Flood Foresight system uses fluvial forecast data from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute’s E-HYPE model. The following images show the fluvial forecast return period (RP) from E-HYPE across north-west Germany and the surrounding areas for 15 July. These are for forecast run dates ranging from 10 July to 15 July. The forecasts show high return periods across a large area, with RPs as high as 1000 years forecast in some locations.

Flood Foresight review of Central Europe flooding July 2021

Flood Foresight review of Central Europe flooding July 2021 map

Our colleagues at JBA Risk Management have created an excellent and detailed Event Response to the flood events in Central Europe last month. You can read more here:  Summer Floods in Europe 2021 | JBA Risk Management Event Response

Edinburgh, Sunday 4 July 2021

Here in the UK, surface water flooding affected many locations during July. At the start of the month:

“Edinburgh was hit with nearly half of its average July rainfall (37mm) in under an hour on Sunday, as storms caused flooding across the city.”  BBC News, 5 July 2021

Surface water flooding impacted many areas in the western part of Edinburgh with residential roads, shopping centres and transport services all affected.

Flood Foresight review of July 2021 - Edinburgh
This map shows the output from Flood Foresight’s surface water flood forecasting system, showing the risk of rainfall at the 75 year return period at 1700-1800z, calculated from the 1200z IREPS model run.

The photograph shows flash flooding in Stockbridge, Edinburgh on 4 July 2021. Photo source: Mirror, 2021

Birmingham,  Tuesday 27 July 2021

Later in July, a rain system moved across the UK bringing with it intense thundery rainfall, leading to surface water flooding in a number of locations including Birmingham and the West Midlands:

“Heavy rain caused flash flooding and delays on roads across the West Midlands – and led to a football match being called off.” Express and Star, 27 July 2021

This map shows the output from Flood Foresight’s surface water flood forecasting system, showing the risk of rainfall at the 5 year return period from 1800-1900z (1900-2000 BST) for Queens Park in Harborne, Birmingham. Photo source: Twitter

Flood Foresight review of July 2021 - Queens Park
The photograph shows surface water flooding at the Queens Park location posted at 17.30 BST.

Want to know more?

Flood Foresight is a unique flood monitoring and forecasting system. It provides near real-time and forecast rainfall and flood data to users needing a reliable source of information to understand potential flood impacts. Based on best-available river telemetry and modelling approaches, combined with state-of the-art high resolution flood maps, Flood Foresight provides reliable predictive analytics on flood impacts before, during and after flood events.

Contact John Bevington for more information about Flood Foresight, or visit our webpage with a comprehensive Executive Summary.

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