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A Multi-Platform Hydrometeorological Analysis of the Flash Flood Event of 15 November 2017 in Attica, Greece

  • varlas, george
  • anagnostou, marios n.
  • spyrou, christos
  • papadopoulos, anastasios
  • kalogiros, john
  • mentzafou, angeliki
  • michaelides, silas
  • baltas, evangelos
  • karymbalis, efthimios
  • katsafados, petros
Publication Date
Dec 28, 2018
DOI: 10.3390/rs11010045
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Urban areas often experience high precipitation rates and heights associated with flash flood events. Atmospheric and hydrological models in combination with remote-sensing and surface observations are used to analyze these phenomena. This study aims to conduct a hydrometeorological analysis of a flash flood event that took place in the sub-urban area of Mandra, western Attica, Greece, using remote-sensing observations and the Chemical Hydrological Atmospheric Ocean Wave System (CHAOS) modeling system that includes the Advanced Weather Research Forecasting (WRF-ARW) model and the hydrological model (WRF-Hydro). The flash flood was caused by a severe storm during the morning of 15 November 2017 around Mandra area resulting in extensive damages and 24 fatalities. The X-band dual-polarization (XPOL) weather radar of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) observed precipitation rates reaching 140 mm/h in the core of the storm. CHAOS simulation unveils the persistent orographic convergence of humid southeasterly airflow over Pateras mountain as the dominant parameter for the evolution of the storm. WRF-Hydro simulated the flood using three different precipitation estimations as forcing data, obtained from the CHAOS simulation (CHAOS-hydro), the XPOL weather radar (XPOL-hydro) and the Global Precipitation Measurement (GMP)/Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) satellite dataset (GPM/IMERG-hydro). The findings indicate that GPM/IMERG-hydro underestimated the flood magnitude. On the other hand, XPOL-hydro simulation resulted to discharge about 115 m3/s and water level exceeding 3 m in Soures and Agia Aikaterini streams, which finally inundated. CHAOS-hydro estimated approximately the half water level and even lower discharge compared to XPOL-hydro simulation. Comparing site-detailed post-surveys of flood extent, XPOL-hydro is characterized by overestimation while CHAOS-hydro and GPM/IMERG-hydro present underestimation. However, CHAOS-hydro shows enough skill to simulate the flooded areas despite the forecast inaccuracies of numerical weather prediction. Overall, the simulation results demonstrate the potential benefit of using high-resolution observations from a X-band dual-polarization radar as an additional forcing component in model precipitation simulations.

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