A cyclone induced storm surge and flood forecasting system that has been developed for the northern Bay of Bengal is presented. The developed system includes a cyclone forecasting model that uses statistical models for forecasting of the cyclone track and maximum wind speed, and an analytical cyclone model for generation of cyclone wind and pressure fields. A data assimilation system has been developed that allows updating of the cyclone parameters based on air pressure and wind speed observations from surface meteorological stations. The forecasted air pressure and wind fields are used as input in a 2D hydrodynamic model for forecasting storm surge levels and associated flooding. An efficient uncertainty prediction procedure based on Harr's point estimation method has been implemented as part of the forecasting system for prediction of the uncertainties of the forecasted storm surge levels and inundation areas caused by the uncertainties in the cyclone track and wind speed forecasts. The developed system is applied on a severe cyclone that hit Bangladesh in April 1991. The simulated storm surge and associated flooding are highly sensitive to the cyclone data. The cyclone data assimilation system provides a more accurate cyclone track when the cyclone approaches the coastline, which results in a significant improvement of the storm surge and flood predictions. Application of the uncertainty prediction procedure shows that the large uncertainties of the cyclone track and intensity forecasts result in large uncertainties of the forecasted storm surge levels and flood extend. The forecasting system shows very good forecasting capabilities up to 24 h before the actual landfall. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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