Event banner: Hail shower over Jodrell Bank - Mark Boardman

New masterclass: Flood forecasting hours to months ahead

Meteorological Masterclass

8 February 2021

The second Meteorological Masterclass Series - ‘Anticipating floods, droughts and heatwaves’, with the University of Reading, starts on Wednesday 24 February (3-4.30pm) with a session on ‘Flood forecasting hours to months ahead’.

Flood forecasting is an essential tool for risk management. Effective forecasts enable organisations and communities to take proactive actions to reduce the impacts of flooding. There are two key components to effective flood forecasts; robust underlying models, and a well-defined forecasting chain that ensures the right people get the right information at the right time. Using examples from the UK and worldwide, this masterclass will cover the state-of-the-art in probabilistic hydrometeorological forecasting hours to months ahead, and the use and communication of flood forecasts to support decision making.

Leading this session is Dr Linda Speight. Linda is a hydrometeorologist working in the Department of Geography and Environment Science at the University of Reading. Working at the interface between research and practice, Linda regularly works with partners including the Environment Agency and SEPA, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the UK Met Office, and the Red Cross Climate Centre.

Linda is currently working on the FATHUM project, undertaking interdisciplinary research to strengthen international forecast-based humanitarian action. She has recently been involved in proving flood briefings to support the response to Tropical Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique. Previously she conducted a policy and practice review of the NERC funded Flooding from Intense Rainfall (FFIR) programme, interviewing subject matter experts to bring together the technical developments and identify recommendations for changes in policy, practice and further research for flood forecasting.

Prior to joining the University of Reading, Linda was a Senior Scientist at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and an operational forecaster for the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service. She has a PhD from Newcastle University which looked at understanding spatial and temporal dependencies in flood risk modelling, particularly for the insurance industry.

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These masterclasses are intended to provide additional training for professionals working in Meteorology and Climate Science, and its operational application.

Each masterclass consists of a presentation followed by the opportunity for questions and discussion with the speaker.

Video recordings will be made available to people who have registered and paid to attend within a few days of the event. There will also be an option to ask the speakers questions via email for one week after the video goes live.


Wednesday 10 March 2021: Representing convection in Numerical Weather Prediction models and its implications

Prof Bob Plant: University of Reading


Wednesday 24 March 2021: Heatwaves and climate change in urban microclimates

Prof Sue Grimmond: University of Reading


You can also follow discussion on the events using the hashtag #MetMasterclass


The classes gave a very useful overview of the latest developments in the fields of extra tropical storms and monthly / seasonal prediction, presented by experts. Martin Young. Deputy Chief Forecaster, Met Office.

The Masterclass Series is well organised with a good balance of theory and practice, and with good visual presentations that are clear and concise. Meteorologist, Pelmorex, Canada

I would highly recommend for anyone with an interest in the latest thinking and for those wanting continual professional development. Adam Thornhill FRMetS CMet, Key Account Manager, Defence, Met Office

The mix of academic research into a topic with the professional frontline application of this work was fascinating. Climate Scientist, Met Office

What a refreshment! Min Zhu, Technical Specialist, RES

The session I attended was useful in my continuing professional development and was directly related to the knowledge we need at work. Jim Galvin Forecaster, Jersey Met

Useful e-learning with a comprehensive analysis and good knowledge for continuous information upgrades -Mário Marques, iClimate Advisor, CTO, Porto

A must for keeping up to date. Luis Cana, Senior Lecturer, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria



Image: Hail shower over Jodrell Bank - Mark Boardman