HydroMail 05 - Noosa Flood Warning Network Upgrade and Harbinger AFW

HydroMail 05 - Noosa Flood Warning Network Upgrade and Harbinger AFW

Posted 16 May 2018
This issue of HydroMail looks at flood warning systems. Tristan Richter discusses the upgrade made to the Noosa Flood Warning Network, and Scott Walker is interested in connecting with organisations to continue testing our Harbinger Advanced Flood Warning System.
Figure 2 Excavating a 3m W x 3m D x 1.2m H, for the concrete and steel reinforcement to be placed into
Figure 3 Steel reinforcement prior to installation within the concrete
Figure 4 Concrete being poured at a site
Figure 5 Towers assembled in a laydown yard in Noosa, before being transported to and craned onto the support rods
Figure 6 Site that required a maximum height gauges alongside the tower (the maximum height gauge is to the right of the tower)
Figure 7 Completed site

Noosa Flood Warning Network Upgrade

ALS were engaged from June to September 2017 to expand the existing Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) ALERT Flood Warning Network (FWN) within the Noosa Shire. The Noosa Shire Council identified gaps in the river height and rainfall data observations within the shire. The Council subsequently secured funding to install additional monitoring stations as part of the Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program.

By Tristan Richter, Brisbane

Five new BOM standard flood towers were installed to monitor water level at six water courses, as well as rainfall at four of the sites (refer to Figure 1). Due to the need to flood proof the structures the installation involved considerable civil works, over a ton of steel reinforcement was installed and over 10.8 m² of concrete was poured (refer to Figure 2, Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5, Figure 6 and Figure 7). The instrumentation installed at the sites included HyQuest Solutions HS-40 Compact Gas Purge Compressor and Bubbler Systems, RIMCO 8300 Tipping Bucket Rain Gauges, ELPRO ALERT canisters (radio telemetry system) and associated solar power supplies; one of the towers was customised to fit two water level monitoring setups.

The data that is generated from these additional sites flows into flood overlay maps, via the BOM and Council operated Enviromon database,  improving the information available to the Noosa Shire Council to coordinate flood response efforts i.e. evacuation planning and notification, access routes identification and road closure enactment.

Figure 1 - Site locations

Harbinger Advanced Flood Warning

Would you like more time when it comes to flood warning?

By Scott Walker, Sydney

ALS is interested in connecting with organisations to continue testing of our Harbinger Advanced Flood Warning System (the Harbinger System). The system is designed for those who need to react quickly to wet weather events.

The ALS Harbinger System models storm and flood prediction hours in advance, creating vital lead time for critical safety responses.

Instead of passively awaiting storms and floods, the ALS Harbinger System utilises radar imagery and ground referencing techniques to provide storm and flood forecast information on the fly.


Impending storms are identified on the Bureau of Meteorology Weather Radar.

The images are tracked and modelled using existing weather station data to accurately predict storm magnitudes in an area of interest up to 90 minutes into the future - known as nowcasts.

Rainfall nowcasts are updated, modelled into predicted stream heights and posted every ten minutes by the Harbinger web-portal.'

Refer to Figure 8


Rainfall is monitored on site to validate the predictive nowcasting during flood events and to confirm alarm statuses.

Live and historical automatic weather station data is used to calibrate storm predictions in real-time.

Local data recorders that monitor in-situ rainfall and water levels support and validate the Harbinger System - known as ground referencing.

Refer to Figure 9

Water Level


Water level is monitored at sites of interest.

Data and camera images are forwarded to the web-portal with graphs and predictions. 

Conditions are continually monitored to automatically or manually activate and deactivate local warnings and barricades. 

The Harbinger System can integrate into existing road crossing or flood monitoring systems that may already be in operation.

Refer to Figure 10



The Harbinger System always monitors sites of interest and can provide stakeholders with alarms via email and SMS. 

Alarms are able to be configured to report on the likelihood, timing and magnitude of predicted flooding, the breaching of important stream level thresholds and even indicate barricade or Variable Message Board (VMB) status.

All alarms and conditions are able to be verified through camera images posted to the Harbinger web-portal.

Refer to Figure 11


The Harbinger System streams real-time reference data through mobile phone, radio and satellite telemetry systems.

Predicted flood heights can be sent to FTP addresses, web services, other devices or any third party software at set intervals or when a pre-configured event occurs i.e. water level reaches a certain height.  

If required, data can be forwarded to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Historical data downloads are available in a variety of formats to support third party software and applications.

Refer to Figure 12 


Figure 12 - BOM Enviromon Flood Warning System
Figure 8 BOM weather radar
Figure 9 Automatic Weather Station in Penrith
Figure 10 - Flood warning site in ACT
Figure 11 - Remote camera site in Penrith

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