Google expands AI flood forecasting tool to Ireland among other locations

22 May 2023

Image: © Pavel/

Google Flood Hub uses machine learning to predict flooding, but it does not identify coastal or flash flooding, or flooding in urban areas.

Tech giant Google has said that Ireland is to be included in the series of new locations it is hoping to serve with its AI-powered flood forecasting tool, Flood Hub.

People in countries served by Flood Hub will be able to check the weather and flooding predictions up to seven days in advance. As well as Ireland, Google is rolling the tool out to 30 other countries in Europe. These include Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Flood Hub was initially launched last year, and as of today (22 May) will be usable in almost 80 countries worldwide.

At the time of Flood Hub’s launch, Google’s VP of engineering and research and crisis response lead, Yossi Matias, wrote that the tool can help “people directly at risk and provide critical information to aid organisations and governments”.

While Flood Hub was only launched last year, Google has been exploring flood forecasting using machine learning models for some years previously.

It uses AI and machine learning models to predict where floods will occur so Governments can be alerted to step in and take precautionary measures.

Flood Hub’s forecasts are updated daily and can be shared on social media. They are also free to access.

Writing in November last year, Matias announced that the company was extending these models’ capabilities to river basins in 18 additional countries across Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

He said that the expansion in geographic coverage was possible thanks to Google’s “breakthroughs in AI-based flood forecasting models”. He added that Google was committed to expanding to more countries.

Google claims it does not use any of the countries’ propriety data, but relies on “a variety of weather products” including the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Satellite.

Last year, Copernicus showed data of some countries that were severely affected by drought.

The technology then combines two models. The hydrologic model forecasts the amount of water flowing in a river, while the inundation model predicts what areas are going to be affected and how deep the water will be.

Flood Hubs currently only focuses on riverine floods rather than flash and coastal flooding. Flood maps for urban areas are also not generated by the tool.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.