Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Screenshot of EFAS website

European Flood Alert System (EFAS)

Council promotes flood alert tools such as JRC's EFAS


EU's ministers for justice and home affairs agreed to promote the use of early flood warning systems such as the European Flood Alert System (EFAS), when discussing integrated flood management at the Council meeting on 12 May.

EFAS was developed by the Joint Research Centre – in close collaboration with the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and National flood forecasting services - in order to provide Member States and the Commission with early warning information for river floods, between three and ten days before the flooding starts. A state-of-the-art modeling system, based on weather and probabilistic flood forecasting, has been developed and tested, and is currently running experimentally at a daily 24/7 basis since 2003 at the JRC's Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) in Ispra (Italy).

EFAS closely works with and for the benefit of the Members States, because it provides earlier and complementary information to existing national tools, allowing Member States and the Commission to be better prepared for upcoming flood crises, the most recent example being the May 2010 flood in eastern Europe. Its intrinsically European perspective helps keeping a seamless overview also if the threat of flooding disasters concerns multi-national river basins, like e.g., the Danube or the Odra.

EFAS is envisaged to run fully operational by the end of 2011. The JRC will further develop the system as a model for other continents, e.g., Africa.