Urban flood warning for Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

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Urban flood warning for Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

Early Warning and Anticipatory Actions receive increasing attention recently. Of the many hazards subject of early warning, we note that urban flooding is simultaneously one of the more challenging and impactful issues especially in developing countries and Africa in particular. HKV, Deltares, the Netherlands Red Cross, TAHMO and ICPAC have united to take up this challenge.


Rapid urbanization across Africa results in crowded, poorly planned cities. Many of these cities face floods several times a year, usually in lower-income, vulnerable and informal areas. Large damages and loss of lives are common impacts. While flood mitigation measures are expensive and require complex urban planning processes, early warning and early actions can mitigate impacts effectively.  


Early warning for urban areas is challenging in multiple ways. Urban floods typically occur within a few hours after severe rainfall and occur suddenly and very locally. This makes them hard to predict, with a need for timely, precise and accurate information. It also provides a challenge in warning dissemination and anticipatory actions, once floods are predicted, to ensure the right actions are taken and people are informed timely and effectively.


Our consortium brings together expertise on monitoring and short term forecasting of extreme rainfall in Africa, super-fast flood models and carefully designed warning dissemination and anticipatory action protocols. This is combined into an early warning system for urban floods. Specifically, we will work on research into and the application of: 

  1. Merging satellite-based rainfall estimates and TAHMO sensors for nowcasting to provide

precipitation forecasts for short lead times, 

  1. A coupling between a distributed hydrological model and an innovative rapid flood

inundation model to calculate urban flood impacts at high computational speed, and 

  1. Integration of the rainfall forecast and flood impact model for urban flooding in impact

based forecasting platforms to enable anticipatory action.

With support of the Dutch Partners For Water program, we will pilot this solution in Dire Dawa in Ethiopia. This is a city of almost half a million citizens, which suffered many flood induced casualties over past decades. After this pilot, the concept is ready for application to other urban areas in Africa.

The project is aligned with the Water at the Heart of Climate Action partnership.

TAHMO Attended GSMA MWC Meeting

In October, representatives from TAHMO in Rwanda and Tanzania embarked on a transformative journey to the GSMA MWC Kigali Series. The GSMA, a global organization dedicated to unifying the mobile ecosystem and driving innovation for positive change in both business and society, set the stage for an inspiring gathering.

As a climate and weather observatory institution, TAHMO found itself uniquely positioned to leverage the opportunities presented at this event. The theme of a “new chapter for climate action” resonated deeply with the organization’s mission. However, the real game-changer was TAHMO’s selection by the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, Inc. for an Innovation Fund Grant Agreement. This recognition was more than just an accolade; it was a chance to further their noble cause.

The vibrant setting of the KIGALI M Hotel hosted a startup boot camp on the 15th and 16th of October, attended by Lisa from Tanzania. The connections made during this event would prove to be pivotal in the days to come.

On the first day of the meeting, attendees were treated to insights from notable speakers, including the esteemed President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. His emphasis on “making digital life cheap and inclusive” set the tone for a gathering aimed at breaking barriers and driving positive change.

The second day of the meeting maintained the momentum, focusing on “unleashing tomorrow’s technology today.” Sessions were dedicated to building a connected Africa, with distinguished speakers like Lacine Kone sharing their perspectives and expertise.

The overarching theme of the GSMA MWC Kigali Series was crystal clear: the mobile industry had the potential to be a force for good in the realm of climate action. Climate change is an existential threat that humanity must address, and the mobile industry is poised to play a significant role in this global battle.

The mobile sector has made significant strides by collectively developing an industry-wide climate action roadmap with the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, aligning with the Paris Agreement. The commitment of around 80% of the global mobile industry by revenue to disclose their climate impacts, energy consumption, and GHG emissions through the CDP global disclosure system was a testament to their dedication. Moreover, over 60% of the industry had committed to science-based targets, a pledge to rapidly reduce carbon emissions over the next decade.

The mobile industry’s proactive approach to addressing climate change didn’t go unnoticed. It was recognized as one of the first breakthrough industries, with the GSMA serving as an accelerator for the UN Race to Zero initiative. The Mobile for Development’s ClimateTech program was furthering these efforts, aiming to foster greater integration between digital technology and climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience strategies, particularly in low and middle-income countries.

TAHMO’s mission aligned seamlessly with these global efforts. The Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO) was on a mission to develop an extensive network of weather stations across Africa. These stations would provide critical current and historical weather data essential for various applications, including agriculture, climate monitoring, and hydro-meteorology. TAHMO’s presence at the GSMA MWC Kigali Series was a testament to their commitment to harnessing the power of mobile technology for the betterment of Africa and the planet.

In Kigali, a shared vision for climate action, innovation, and a more connected world brought people and organizations together. It was a glimpse into a brighter, more sustainable future where mobile technology played a pivotal role in the fight against climate change. As the event concluded, attendees departed with renewed determination and a sense of purpose, ready to continue their collective journey towards a more sustainable and climate-resilient world.

Author: Cyuzuzo Honore

May blog 2023

Why Your Local Weather Prediction Could Be Wrong .tahmo May 2023 blog

Have you ever checked the weather forecast, only to find out that it was completely wrong? It can be frustrating, but there are many factors that can influence the accuracy of weather predictions. Let’s take a closer look at why weather predictions aren’t always spot on.

Weather predictions are developed by complex mathematical equations that take into account various variables such as temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, air pressure, and more. However, even with all this data and sophisticated models, there are still many factors that can influence the accuracy of weather predictions.

One of the most significant factors is the availability of accurate data. Weather predictions depend on the collection of precise and timely data from various sources, such as satellites, weather balloons, ground-based weather stations, and radars. If the data is incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate, the predictions are likely to be less reliable.

Another factor that can affect the accuracy of weather predictions is the complexity of the atmosphere itself. The atmosphere is a chaotic and dynamic system, which means that even small changes in one part of the system can have significant impacts on the weather in another part. This makes it challenging to predict the weather, especially over longer time horizons accurately.

Finally, weather predictions are always subject to a degree of uncertainty. Weather models are based on probabilistic forecasts, which means that they provide a range of possible outcomes rather than a definitive answer. It’s important to keep this in mind when interpreting weather predictions and to understand that unexpected changes in the weather can always occur.

Fortunately, organizations such as TAHMO are working to improve weather prediction accuracy. TAHMO is building a network of high-quality weather stations across Africa that provide reliable real-time data. This data can be utilized to improve weather prediction models and help make weather predictions more accurate.

So, the next time you check the weather forecast and it doesn’t come out as predicted, don’t be too hard on the weatherman. After all, weather predictions are simply predictions and not facts. It’s important to understand the limitations of these predictions and to keep in mind the many factors that can influence their accuracy.

Written by Gilbert Mwangi, Technical Director TAHMO

With climate change increasing its mark on all aspects of the hydrological cycle, societies all over the world living in flood-prone areas are increasingly exposed to flood hazards. In many parts of the world,
especially in less developed areas, societies lack knowledge and data to predict future flood events.

By predicting a future flood event, an organization creates a time frame to implement a mitigating action that reduces the financial damage inflicted. In recent years, the development of new measuring techniques has significantly lowered the cost of collecting data and information on different aspects of the hydrological cycle.

These developments enable organizations in regions restrained of knowledge and data to establish methods to analyze aspects of the hydrological cycle, thereby predicting the probability of a flood hazard several hours or days in advance. This thesis explores various possibilities for designing and implementing an Early Warning System (EWS) for the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRT) in Dar es Salaam.

The EWS design is based on the forecasting requirements, investigated with the BRT-system. Several operational forecasting methods are available. The EWS designed in this thesis makes use of rainfall data obtained from rainfall stations located in the Dar es Salaam region, installed and managed by the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO).MoreFinal_Thesis_Markus_Pleij_4238001

My name is Honore, and I am a Field Engineer at TAHMO here in Rwanda. My main work is to maintain the network of TAHMO weather stations and act as a representative of TAHMO here in Rwanda.

We have 16 Automatic Weather stations which are distributed in 4 Provinces. Most stations are in Kigali municipal and in the Northern Province.

I joined TAHMO in 2018. My initial goal then was to restore the transmission capacity of Rwandan Stations which had been offline for a while.

The culture at TAHMO has a way of elevating my execution capabilities; it emphasizes staff making decisions and following up with them. The culture also emphasizes planning and innovation. We also have a great support team among ourselves and the management.

Since March 2020 when COVID-19 hit Rwanda (and the world), I had to change a few things. It was difficult to work from home and hope to maintain a high rate of productivity.  Now we use techniques like TeamViewer to maintain stations remotely. I also keep close contacts with the hosts of the weather stations who helps us troubleshoot minor issues.

I was the only TAHMO field engineer when I started. In 2020, I trained 2 volunteer assistant technicians; Jean and Elie. They have been working in northern and southern provinces. I am happy they have quickly adapted to TAHMO culture and are very helpful.

A School-2-school interactive event was held at St. Monica’s Senior High School at Asante Mampong in Ghana. The event was at a request of the host teacher who has just taken over the responsibility of the TAHMO Station.

It was a short and successful event. The opportunity was to provide students with the following:

  1. Brief background of TAHMO and its activities;
  2. TAHMO station – parts and how it works, type of data collected and access to the data;
  3. Importance of weather stations and climatic data; and the
  4. School-2-School Initiative.

The students and teachers were made aware of TAHMO and its activities. TAHMO operates 600+ Automatic weather stations on the African continent. These stations are located in 23 countries in Africa. TAHMO supports all the national meteorological agencies that it works with by providing access to its data.

TAHMO stations collect data for all the weather parameters – solar radiation (sunshine hours), rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric pressure. These sensors were pointed out to them as well as the data logger that stores and transmits the data.

Climate or weather data borders on security, as reliable and accurate data, help save the environment, lives, and properties. Weather-related disasters like flooding and drought impact can be minimized with accurate and reliable data. This will help provide adequate warning to the people in the affected region, area, or community ahead of the impending disaster. The students were made to understand and appreciate these as critical use of weather or climatic data.

The sch2sch Initiative is the platform designed to link or connect the schools that host TAHMO stations. To ensure this, access to the data from the station in the school is given, educational materials to support teaching and learning and regular interaction sessions are also provided. This is to ensure the station is not detached but facilitates learning at the school.

The TAHMO school-2-School program brings excitement as TAHMO host schools are informed, educated, and entertained on this platform.

St. Monica’s Senior High School is a single-sex (girls) school located at Asante Mampong in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. It is one of the top schools in the region and the country at large. It offers avenues for students to study science, business, and arts. The school became a TAHMO school in 2017 when it hosted a station.


My name is Cyuzuzo Honore, a coordinator for TAHMO in Rwanda.

I had an idea of developing weather information service for student in Rwanda. The idea won me a grant.

It started at a challenging time in 2020: COVID-19 hit. In Rwanda, TAHMO activities (especially those that involved travelling) were disrupted. During the first months of COVID there was a lot of fear since only little information on the virus was available. But as days went by, these informations became available; we knew how to protect ourselves and eachother which reduced the fear we all felt at first. But still Rwanda – my country – was under travel restrictions.

Mid-August I got to know about LOOP ACCELERATOR – an incubation program for Education Startups. I have long had a vision to improve climate literacy in the younger generation. With motivation from TAHMO’s SCHOOL – 2 – SCHOOL program, I envisioned developing a climate information platform. My Idea was to was to develop a portal with this information, then add some climate change mitigation and adaptation skills on the online platform that will be accessible to Rwandan schools.

Severe Weather Consult, TAHMO’s sister company in Rwanda, has a platform called iHEWA, whose goal is to enhance accessibility of weather information services. Among the targets of the platform are the students – they interact, learn and experiment local weather data which enhances their knowledge on climate change mitigation and adaptation. We strongly believe education is an essential element of the global response to climate change.

I submitted my concept and it won a grant. I spent 3 months in Loop accelerator. It was great opportunity to share experience with other more than 10 startups in Education including some already in the market. It was also a milestone to let Rwanda ICT Chamber, GIZ, SMART Africa get to know what we are doing as TAHMO in closing the gap by providing accurate and efficient Meteorological data. In addition, Loop accelerator grant us 800 USD in total that helped us develop IHEWA Online platform (click to visit ihewa).

IHEWA will be as online library for climate literacy for young generation to start act on climate change action plan. Also, IHEWA will be like a tool for schools while they are teaching climate change mitigation and adaptation. A vast online platform that will be including climate science lesson plans, climate change mitigation and adaptation skills and climate change risk reduction tips.