Predicting weather-related emergencies

Predicting weather-related emergencies

Imagine if you could predict the next major flood, days before it actually happens, even down to the exact location where it’s going to take place.

Armed with that sort of knowledge:

  • rain on windowemergency services could plan ahead, arranging for extra staff and calling-up volunteers (potentially saving lives, and also keeping reactive costs to a minimum)
  • communities could organise themselves, and make sure the elderly and vulnerable are taken care of (communities helping themselves)
  • individuals and households could move their precious possessions upstairs or to another safe place (less heartache for them, and fewer claims for insurance companies)
  • the list goes on…

Well, that’s what Know Now Information are seeking to do, with their Flood Event Model which demonstrates that it’s possible to predict weather-related emergency blackspots.

Predicting the future

Know Now gathered lots of historic data from a variety of sources, including weather (from the Met Office), emergency callouts (from Hampshire Fire and Rescue), and environmental data (Environment Agency). They matched-up all the data – something which is currently quite a task as it’s published in lots of different formats – and created common timestamps. They then came up with some theories about a possible correlation between environmental conditions leading up to severe weather events, and tested the theories using more recent data.

flood event model hartree visualisation
Making sense of the data – one of the visualisations from Flood Event Model

They proved the correlation, and are now working with public service providers to feed this information into future service planning. The Flood Event Model also has lots of potential to be further improved e.g. by using near real-time data from Satellites.

[gview file=””]