The number of natural catastrophes that affect people worldwide is increasing; among these, the hydro-meteorological events represent the worst scenario due to the thousands of deaths and huge damages to private and state ownership they can cause. To prevent this, besides various structural measures, many non-structural solutions, such as the implementation of flood warning systems, have been proposed in recent years. In this study, we suggest a low computational cost method to produce a probabilistic flood prediction system using a single forecast precipitation scenario perturbed via a spatial shift. In fact, it is well-known that accurate forecasts of heavy precipitation, especially associated with deep moist convection, are challenging due to uncertainties arising from the numerical weather prediction (NWP), and high sensitivity to misrepresentation of the initial atmospheric state. Inaccuracies in precipitation forecasts are partially due to spatial misplacing. To produce hydro-meteorological simulations and forecasts, we use a flood forecasting system which comprises the physically-based rainfall-runoff hydrological model FEST-WB developed by the Politecnico di Milano, and the MOLOCH meteorological model provided by the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (CNR-ISAC). The areas of study are the hydrological basins of the rivers Seveso, Olona, and Lambro located in the northern part of Milan city (northern Italy) where this system works every day in real-time. In this paper, we show the performance of reforecasts carried out between the years 2012 and 2015: in particular, we explore the ‘Shift-Target’ (ST) approach in order to obtain 40 ensemble members, which we assume equally likely, derived from the available deterministic precipitation forecast. Performances are shown through statistical indexes based on exceeding the threshold for different gauge stations over the three hydrological basins. Results highlight how the Shift-Target approach complements the deterministic MOLOCH-based flood forecast for warning purposes.
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