Flash Flood! is an application funded by and developed for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) programme, Flash Flooding from Intense Rainfall (FFIR). The FFIR research programme aims to increase our understanding of how flash floods are triggered, and to improve the forecasting of the intense thunderstorms which trigger them. Flash Flood! is designed to support this research by providing an activity for events through which the programme progress can be communicated.
As with Humber in a Box, Flash Flood! uses the latest in virtual reality hardware, the Oculus Rift. In the virtual environment you can experience the pleasant scenery and atmosphere of our river valley, and explore the gentle stream.
Did you know? Flash Flood! is based on the Thinhope Burn river and built using scientific data collected from the site. Below is a photograph of area made virtual in Flash Flood!
However, it is the height of summer and convective thunderstorms are forecast for the area. Your first warning is when the sky darkens and rain begins to steadily fall. The rainfall rapidly increases, but you can’t see the full intensity of the storm which is centered on the upper reaches of the valley. Here, landslips push debris into the river slowing the flow and causing it to back up.
The river so far has not risen much, but this is about to change as the debris-laden flood water makes its way down the valley which is consumed by a wall of water before you eyes, stripping away tree and plants and moving boulders.
Just as rapidly as they rose, the flood waters fall and leave behind a scene of devastation. The once green and pleasant river bed is now a bare bed of rock.
Did you know? You can check on the levels of rivers around the UK using GaugeMap – you can also follow a Twitter account of each gauge and receive alerts when levels are high. Below is the gauge closest to Thinhope Burn.