Estimating flash floods in arid regions is a challenge arising from the limited time preventing mitigation measures from being taken, which results in fatalities and property losses. Here, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multi Satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) Real Time (RT) 3B2RT data are utilized in estimating floods that occurred over the city of Jeddah located in the western Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the 2000–2014 period, six floods that were effective on 19 days occurred in Jeddah. Three indices, constant threshold (CT), cumulative distribution functions (CDFs) and Jeddah flood index (JFI), were developed using 15-year 3-hourly 3B42RT. The CT calculated, as 10.37 mm/h, predicted flooding on 14 days, 6 of which coincided with actual flood-affected days (FADs). CDF thresholds varied between 87 and 93.74%, and JFI estimated 28 and 20 FADs where 8 and 7 matched with actual FADs, respectively. While CDF and JFI did not miss any flood event, CT missed the floods that occurred in the heavy rain months of January and December. The results are promising despite that only rainfall rates, i.e., one parameter out of various flood triggering mechanisms, i.e., soil moisture, topography and land use, are used. The simplicity of the method favors its use in TRMM follow-on missions such as the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM).
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