Forecasting and Extreme Event Response LEC.447

This module covers the latest hydrological and meteorological forecasting methods and the concepts and processes involved in flow forecasting.

Course Overview

It will introduce commercially available models for real time flood forecasting and warning systems and the concepts of variability, uncertainty and accuracy in short term forecasting.  Delegates will also be introduced to longer term climate prediction and the concepts and principals of uncertainty.

The module will include a simulated flood response exercise to enable delegates to understand how forecasting is applied and how uncertainty and variability in forecasting is dealt with in a real world context and influences the decision making process.

Who should attend?

The module is aimed at a wide range of practitioners who are involved in flood risk management, community flood resilience, preparedness and response to flooding events, for example flood evacuation planning to accompany Flood Risk Assessments.

Course outcomes

On completion of this course, delegates will be able to:

  • Apply industry standard modelling, forecasting and decision making techniques to address the risks associated with flooding and extreme events in the context of the latest legislation and policy
  • Critically asses commercially available models for real time flood forecasting and warning systems
  • Critically assess the different types of forecast and be able to select the most appropriate model for different applications
  • Understand how key agencies respond to extreme events in the UK

Topics covered

  • Introduction to flood forecasting – the concepts, processes and components of flood forecasting (meteorological and hydrological) and concepts and principles of uncertainty in forecasting
  • Meteorological forecasting, rainfall run-off modelling concepts
  • Real time flood forecasting methods and models – methods, applications, interpretation of results and limitations
  • Emergency planning and response to extreme events


  • Interactive presentations, exercises, worked examples and case studies.
  • Real time simulated emergency flood response exercise - this will utilise JBA’s Exercise Management System software which stimulates hydrometric data, displaying rainfall and river level information, automatic alarms, radar imagery and exercise injects to test response to realistic flooding scenarios.
  • Group discussions
  • A comprehensive set of course notes and learning resources will be provided.


Professor Rob Lamb

Rob Lamb is an Honorary Professor at the Lancaster Environment Centre and is Chief Scientist at JBA. He has 20 years’ experience of academic and applied research in stochastic and process-based hydrology, computational hydraulics, flood risk analysis and climate change assessment. Rob has been lead author for multi-disciplinary science projects for Defra and the Environment Agency, including Defra’s analysis of the Autumn 2000 floods.

Rob’s recent research and development work has concentrated on pioneering the use of high performance GPU computing to accelerate hydraulic flow models, and developing a novel multivariate statistical method for assessing risks of extreme events in cases of spatial dependence, such as national scale catastrophic flooding.

Rob is a visiting lecturer at Imperial College, London, Leeds University and Lancaster University. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and books as well as a peer reviewer for international scientific journals and grant-awarding research councils. Rob recently co-authored two text books, “Practical Channel Hydraulics” and a new, 4th  edition of the well known “Hydrology in Practice”.


Paul is a professional hydrologist and is JBA’s Head of Real Time Modelling, specialising in flood forecasting modelling, catchment simulation, flood warning and software development. Paul oversees all of JBA’s forecasting related work manages JBA’s Newcastle Office - the centre for excellence in the field of real time modelling. Since 2005, Paul has led or overseen more than fifty flood forecasting and flood warning projects. He is an expert model developer and in recent years, Paul has developed methods for testing the real time performance of models which have now been adopted in most Environment Agency Regions.

At a national level, Paul is contributing to the development of a probabilistic forecasting capability in England and Wales through the Historical Forecast Performance Tool. Paul has built this role on a background of flood hydrology, model development, hydrometry and field science. He has particular experience of high flow rating curve development, as this is a key aspect of flood forecasting, and led the HiFlows-UK project for JBA.