Can severe rain events over the Mediterranean region be detected through simple numerical indices?

B. Ziv, N. Harats, E. Morin, Y. Yair, U. Dayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work evaluates two numerical warning indicators of severe weather. These indicators, the MKI and RDI indices, were developed within the framework of the EU-funded FLASH project which studies flash flood events in the Mediterranean Basin. The MKI (Modified K-Index) is a modification of the K-Index, which expresses probability of lightning activity, and the RDI (Rain Dynamical Index) is the integrated upward moisture flux. The indices were tested on 59 episodes which occurred during nine rainstorms in Israel, Greece, Spain, Italy, and Cyprus. The data for calculation of the indices included rain cell identification derived from microwave radiometer imagery of polar orbiting NOAA satellites, rain RADAR data, and lightning activity from the international ZEUS detection system. Atmospheric data with 0.5° × 0.5° spatial resolution and 6-h time resolution were used for the calculation and the display of the two indices. The indices were tested by calculating the spatially correlating locations with high index values and actual locations of intense rain and intense lightning. The RDI detected both event types: rain and lightning, with a statistically significant success rate and a low rate of false results. The MKI was successful in indicating intense lightning activity, but the rate of correct indications was not statistically significant and there was a high rate of false indications. The results suggest that the RDI computed with output of weather prediction models is a potentially good predictor of torrential rain and therefore can predict flash floods caused by such rain in the Mediterranean region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1197-1212
Number of pages16
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Dynamic rain index
  • Extreme weather
  • Flash flood
  • Lightning activity
  • Mediterranean climate
  • Modified K-Index
  • Thermodynamic and dynamic indices


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