Articles | Volume 12
21 Sep 2007
21 Sep 2007

Heavy rain prediction using deterministic and probabilistic models – the flash flood cases of 11–13 October 2005 in Catalonia (NE Spain)

A. Barrera, V. Altava-Ortiz, M. C. Llasat, and M. Barnolas

Abstract. Between the 11 and 13 October 2005 several flash floods were produced along the coast of Catalonia (NE Spain) due to a significant heavy rainfall event. Maximum rainfall achieved values up to 250 mm in 24 h. The total amount recorded during the event in some places was close to 350 mm. Barcelona city was also in the affected area where high rainfall intensities were registered, but just a few small floods occurred, thanks to the efficient urban drainage system of the city. Two forecasting methods have been applied in order to evaluate their capability of prediction regarding extreme events: the deterministic MM5 model and a probabilistic model based on the analogous method. The MM5 simulation allows analysing accurately the main meteorological features with a high spatial resolution (2 km), like the formation of some convergence lines over the region that partially explains the maximum precipitation location during the event. On the other hand, the analogous technique shows a good agreement among highest probability values and real affected areas, although a larger pluviometric rainfall database would be needed to improve the results. The comparison between the observed precipitation and from both QPF (quantitative precipitation forecast) methods shows that the analogous technique tends to underestimate the rainfall values and the MM5 simulation tends to overestimate them.