Sea level observations: a major cog in the establishment of a storm surge flooding warning system
On 21 October 2011, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, Jean-Paul Kihl, the Director General for Public Safety and Crisis Management and François Jacq, the Chairman and CEO of Météo-France introduced the storm surge flooding warning system.
This new form of warning, the ninth initiated in 10 years by Météo France, is the latest addition to a structure that is well known to the general public in France: rain and flooding, floods, storms, violent winds, snow and ice, heatwaves etc.
A pictogram representing this phenomenon is now included in the vigilance map. Information relating to storm surge flooding is produced by Météo-France in collaboration with SHOM, the French Navy's hydrographic and oceanographic service.
"The storm Cynthia highlighted the need to give increased consideration to coastal flooding due to storm surge. Following this catastrophe, we promised to establish this new form of warning as quickly as possible. The information is an essential link in the prevention of natural risks because, when the French people are better informed, they are better protected", Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet underlined.
In the event of a storm surge flood warning…
On the warning map, a coloured band will be shown along the coast of all departments concerned. In addition, the storm surge flooding pictogram will be displayed on the coastline of these departments.
In order to access the bulletin describing the change in the phenomenon of surge wave flooding and get advice on how to protect yourself, you simply have to click on the coloured coastal zone of the departments concerned. A link to SHOM's tidal forecast site provides internet users with additional information concerning times and tidal coefficients.
A chain of operational expertise
Météo-France possesses real-time observation resources both at sea and along the coast as well as computation facilities for producing atmospheric and sea state forecasts. For its part, SHOM – a specialist in the maritime physical environment and changes to it and the national reference concerning sea levels in all areas under French jurisdiction - provides tidal predictions and real-time sea level observations from its RONIM observation network. It also provides expertise in coastal hydrodynamics and information relating to changes to the reference situation (extreme levels), bathymetry (depth of the oceans) and the nature of seabeds.
Based on all these data, Météo-France's forecasters, specialized in marine meteorology, produce bulletins concerning sea states and sea levels.
For more information :
- Aide sur les pictogrammes de vigilance météorologique (Help concerning meteorological warning pictograms). In french.
- Plus d'information sur la vigilance (Further information concerning warnings). In french.
- Qu'est-ce que le phénomène vagues-submersion ? (What is the surge wave flooding phenomenon?). In french
- Site du ministère de l'écologie, du développement durable, des Transports et du Logement (Site of the Ministry for Ecology, sustainable development, Transport and Housing). In french
- Site de Météo France