flood and water resources

Flood4Cast® predicts flood risks at street level in city of Antwerp

In collaboration with Imec and Vito

Introduction to the challenge

Sudden flooding in urban areas is increasingly becoming a major challenge for emergency services.

The Antwerp Fire and Rescue Service aims to further improve the deployment of its intervention teams in the event of sudden flash floods in places where they are needed the most, and even to conduct preventive on-the-spot visits to bring in sandbags and assist residents.

In 2018, the Antwerp Fire Brigade rolled out the Flood4Cast® pilot project. Different expertises were involved in the project: HydroScan worked together with Imec and Vito.

The objective: To predict imminent floods at street level in order to optimally align the deployment of intervention teams with places where they are needed the most.

Our approach and solution

Smart algorithms predict flooding risks at street level based on real time rainfall and existing flood maps

Flood4Cast
Flood forecast map at city/municipality level

Flood forecast map at city/municipality level

Flood forecast map at city district level

Flood forecast map at city district level

Flood forecast map at street level

Flood forecast map at street level

Images from IMEC viewer.
The following approach was developed in collaboration with all partners. The pilot project took place in the Ekeren and Merksem area:
  • Local sewers and watercourses were carefully mapped
  • High precision sensors and rain gauges are installed at 14 strategic locations (sewers and open watercourses)
    Objective: to predict precipitation levels and water levels in real time
  • These real-time precipitation measurements are combined with data from rainfall radars of different weather stations
  • Available flood maps are incorporated into the algorithm
  • The HydroScan Flood4Cast® algorithm combines and translates this pile of information into real time into forecasts of flood risk at street level, up to two to three hours in advance
  • The forecast is updated every five minutes
  • Partners Imec and Vito ensure the visual mapping of all the information within a Decision Support System
  • An automatic alerting system is in place

The Antwerp Fire and Rescue Service validated the model based, among other data, on the heavy flood of 5 September 2018 when the Ekeren and Merksem region was hit in the evening by an extreme local cloudburst. The model was found to be able to accurately predict the floods that occurred then. The interventions would have been planned differently and better if this information had been available.

The advantages

Fire brigade can intervene proactively in case of flash floods

Forecasts of flood risk down at street level enable the fire brigade to make better decisions and take proactive action: 
  • Further improve the deployment of intervention teams where they are needed the most
  • Conduct preventive on-the-spot visits to bring in sandbags and assist residents
  • Timely notify residents of potential flooding

Share this page

Call or mail us

Interested? How can we help you?

Do not hesitate to tell us about your situation or ask any questions you may have. 
Did you also know that with a quick scan, we can easily predict your potential annual savings?

Send an email or call +32 16 24 05 05.

Not interested in contacting us at the moment?

Would you be interested in receiving our newsletter 4 times per year?

Your data will not be disclosed to third parties and you can unsubscribe at any time.

hydroscan logo
Hydroscan HQ
Diestsesteenweg 104A
3010 Leuven
Belgium
tel +32 16 24 05 05
Hydroscan Gembloux
Rue Jean Sonet 23
5032 Gembloux
Belgium
tel +32 81 72 85 20
Follow us on: