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HOME > PAST ISSUE > March-April 2009 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

Real-time Flood Forecasting

We’ve learned to predict typhoons. What is required to predict the floods they bring?

Chintu Lai, Ting-Kuei Tsay, Chen-Ho Chien, I-Ling Wu

Figure%201.%20Typhoon%20Nari%20bears%20down%20on%20TaiwanClick to Enlarge ImageTaiwan boasts steep terrain and massive rainfall during the typhoon season. In Metropolitan Taipei, home to 10 million people, major tributaries that drain the mountains collide with tidal flows that change direction daily, resulting in every imaginable combination of forward and reverse flow where the channels meet. Spectacular floods have often resulted. The authors built a computer model of the Taipei watershed that captures this complexity, creating accurate, lifesaving forecasts of the height of the water at specific locations as long as 24 hours in advance and pinpointing areas that would be inundated.


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