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The effectiveness and need for flash flood warning systems in a regional inland city in Australia


The paper explores, from a householder’s point of view, the effectiveness and need for an improved flood warning system in an inland regional city, Toowoomba, which experienced a severe flash flood in January 2011. A survey was conducted across 75 households in four different areas in Toowoomba. It investigated how many people received a warning about the flash flood, how they were warned, and their opinion of flood warning systems post-flood. The results show that no flash flood warning was issued and the local community was completely overwhelmed by the January 2011 flash flood event. Overall awareness of the risk of flash floods appeared to be quite high, especially following the January 2011 event, and the common opinion was that a flash flood warning system in Toowoomba would be extremely useful. However, a level of uncertainty exists, particularly with regard to who should be responsible for providing flood warning systems. Education and home location in the risk areas are identified as important variables influencing opinion and awareness of flash flooding. Improved and coordinated information together with clear lines of responsibility for providing flood information, better lead time, and more reliable flood warning will greatly assist in future flood risk mitigation.

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Correspondence to Shahbaz Mushtaq.

Appendix: Flood warning survey of Households, Central Business District, nearby East and West Creeks, Toowoomba, Queensland

Appendix: Flood warning survey of Households, Central Business District, nearby East and West Creeks, Toowoomba, Queensland


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Nieland, C., Mushtaq, S. The effectiveness and need for flash flood warning systems in a regional inland city in Australia. Nat Hazards 80, 153–171 (2016).

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  • Flood warning
  • Awareness
  • Households
  • Queensland