Halloween floods – new Hydrology Incident Reporting Tool

Storm Aiden brought heavy rains and high winds to many parts of the UK at the end of October, followed closely by another system containing the remnants of ex-hurricane Zeta with further heavy rain.

In light of the forecast for extensive flooding during the period of 31 October to 3 November 2020, we were contacted by the Environment Agency’s National Flood Hydrology Technical cell to provide emergency/on-call support should assistance be required with the reporting of rainfall and river level event location and frequency.

The support required was anticipated to be very similar to that provided during the flood events of February 2020 where these data were managed manually. However, on this occasion the event was to be managed through the Hydrology Incident Reporting Tool (HIRT) developed on behalf of the Environment Agency (EA) by our Systems, Software and Data teams working in conjunction with our Hydrologists and the EA Team.

How does the Hydrology Incident Reporting Tool (HIRT) work?

The HIRT allows authorised users to create an ‘Event’ which contains rainfall and river level data captured from the EA’s telemetry system and a central data store hosted by us. Gauges can be easily added or removed from the Tool as an event develops.

Halloween Floods

Data are ranked, and presented automatically and reported for inclusion in the Flood Hydrology Fact Sheet reports prepared by the EA to support the dissemination to audiences such as EA senior and emergency response management, the media, and the general public in areas experiencing flooding.

Halloween Floods

Andrew Gubbin, Director at JBA consulting commented:

Having supported both the February and October/November flood events and used the manual and automated approach, the benefits of the latter are massive – a really efficient process that performed very well on the occasion of its first use in anger.

Richard Maxted, at the Environment Agency told us:

We are able to rapidly establish where rainfall depths and river levels ranked in the top 15 events and show that, although the peak rainfall was not unusual for the time of year, the event still reached record and near record levels at a number of locations in the Pennine Hills of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Want to know more?

Email Andrew Gubbin for more information about the Hydrology Incident Reporting Tool.

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