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Citizens to get access to advanced flood warning system iFLOWS this monsoon

A joint initiative between the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Integrated Flood Warning System, also called iFLOWS-Mumbai, relays alerts of possible flood-prone areas anywhere between six and 72 hours in advance

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
May 15, 2022 11:45:16 pm
BMC said that starting this monsoon, citizens will be able to check the areas that are likely to get flooded up to two hours in advance. (Express Photo/File)

Two years after it was launched, citizens will get access to the state-of-the-art flood warning system — iFLOWS — from this monsoon season.

A joint initiative between the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Integrated Flood Warning System, also called iFLOWS-Mumbai, relays alerts of possible flood-prone areas anywhere between six and 72 hours in advance, an official from the disaster management department said.

The BMC had access to the system from the beginning based on which the civic body used to send out flood alerts while the weather bureau issued impact-based warnings for the city. However, in 2021, the civic body said that the system was not providing actionable results and required fine-tuning.

“The system is expected to provide all information, including the likely height the floodwater could attain, and location-wise problem areas across all 24 wards and calculate the vulnerability along with the risk of elements exposed to flood. These warnings can help the local civic body plan and direct manpower and machinery to specific locations in the city and help citizens plan their commute among other things,” the official said.

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BMC said that starting this monsoon, citizens will be able to check the areas that are likely to get flooded up to two hours in advance.

BMC, which is updating its ‘Disaster Management MCGM’ mobile application, will also send out heatwave alerts, alerts when the temperature rises above 35 degrees Celsius along with flood and heavy rainfall alerts.

At present, the disaster management app contains information about the respective 24 wards, flood-prone areas or chronic waterlogging spots but not real-time updates. The mobile application also has a list of landslide-prone areas, dilapidated buildings and traffic diversion routes along with rainfall data.

The system incorporates weather models from the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), India Meteorological Department (IMD) and field data from the rain gauge network of 165 stations set up by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), BMC and IMD.

As part of preparedness for floods before they occur, the system will help in warning the citizens so that they can be prepared in advance for such conditions, the official quoted above said.

The early warning forecast would include alerts on rainfall, tide levels, and storm surge for low-lying areas anticipated to be affected, thereby minimising the damage from cyclones and heavy rain events in Mumbai by facilitating evacuation of people to safe areas.

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