8. Can floods be predicted?

Floods can be predicted to a large extent thanks to modern technologies and communications, as well as on the basis of accumulated statistical data. This makes it possible to establish in advance the time, nature and scale of floods. 

The meteorological situation around the world is monitored with meteorological satellites. The information obtained about dangerous events and phenomena is processed and developments in the situation are predicted on the basis of the respective models. Together with the information acquired by national hydro-meteorological services, the data obtained enables predictions of floods to be compiled. Weather forecasts, on which flood prediction depends, indicate only the likelihood of precipitation in a large area, not the certainty of occurrence in specific locations.

As concerns the riverine floods, the bigger the stream, the greater the ability to predict the rising of the water level in a large river, e.g. Danube, Volga, Rhine, Dnepr, etc. It is in fact a phenomenon that occurs slowly, taking from several hours to several days. This allows  constant monitoring and especially preventive actions. In contrast, the level of the water of small rivers or streams can grow very quickly, with reduced intervention times. In these cases, it is not always possible to predict flooding, let alone when and where they will occur.

The scale of flooding caused by spring waters can be predicted up to a month or more beforehand. To that end, the depth of the snow cover is measured, along with soil humidity levels and temperature, etc.

Floods caused by strong storm winds can be predicted from one to two hours to one to two days before they occur.

Prediction of a flood caused by a tsunami is based on timely assessment of the location of  the epicenter and magnitude of the earthquake, after which a set model is used to make a prediction and warn the endangered parties.

When predicting floods for individual locations, account must be taken of the natural regime of the waterways, as influenced by the presence of embankments, dam walls, canal locks and canals, etc. 

Modern technologies allow the accurate prediction of meteorological conditions and in combination with the results from national hydrotechnical services enable the origin and the development and extent of floods to be predicted. This makes it possible to avoid being caught unawares and prevent panic, to plan more effectively and to implement activities to protect the population and safety measures when necessary.