Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (Jul 2011)
Rainfall threshold definition using an entropy decision approach and radar data
Flash flood events are floods characterised by a very rapid response of basins to storms, often resulting in loss of life and property damage. Due to the specific space-time scale of this type of flood, the lead time available for triggering civil protection measures is typically short. Rainfall threshold values specify the amount of precipitation for a given duration that generates a critical discharge in a given river cross section. If the threshold values are exceeded, it can produce a critical situation in river sites exposed to alluvial risk. It is therefore possible to directly compare the observed or forecasted precipitation with critical reference values, without running online real-time forecasting systems. The focus of this study is the Mignone River basin, located in Central Italy. The critical rainfall threshold values are evaluated by minimising a utility function based on the informative entropy concept and by using a simulation approach based on radar data. The study concludes with a system performance analysis, in terms of correctly issued warnings, false alarms and missed alarms.