HIWAT app aids informed decision-making

07 Feb 2024

In the ever-changing landscape of weather forecasting, precise and reliable predictions are essential, especially when facing the uncertainties of severe weather events. Addressing the challenges of unpredictable weather phenomena, the High-Impact Weather Assessment Toolkit (HIWAT) steps into the forefront, offering solutions that revolutionise decision-making processes.

While informative, traditional weather forecasts may need to provide more depth of insight to make critical decisions in the face of rapidly evolving weather conditions. This uncertainty can increase vulnerability to the impact of extreme weather events.

What is HIWAT?

The HIWAT is a toolkit designed and implemented to tackle the uncertainties in weather forecasting. The toolkit’s core strength lies in its ability to deliver a 54-hour probabilistic forecast, empowering decision-makers with a thorough understanding of weather phenomena.

The HIWAT can forecast extreme rainfall and weather phenomena such as lightning strikes, winds, hailstorms, and other critical weather aspects. This system contributes to a more reliable forecast for planning and informed decision-making.

Furthermore, implementing a better early warning system is pivotal for establishing a resilient community to produce a better early warning system by leveraging advanced technology. With reliable forecast data, detecting and communicating potential hazards well in advance is possible. This proactive approach enables communities to undertake timely and informed measures to mitigate the impact of adverse weather events, reducing the risk of disasters and safeguarding lives and property.

Wide uses across the Hindu Kush Himalaya

HIWAT data serves as a valuable resource for our regional partners and organisations, enhancing their model output. By incorporating HIWAT data, models can capture nuanced variations in weather patterns, refining their predictions and analyses. This enriched data source contributes to more accurate forecasting and presents an opportunity to enhance the dissemination system within the specific Area of Interest (AOI). This, in turn, amplifies the effectiveness of decision-making processes, fostering resilience and adaptability in the face of environmental challenges.

Moreover, regional cooperation is crucial for addressing challenges on mountain-specific issues and leveraging collective efforts to achieve common goals. Regional governments, non-governmental organisations, and stakeholders in the Hindu Kush Himalaya benefit from HIWAT as it provides a forecast with a few days of lead time, allowing decision-makers to implement targeted strategies, safeguarding lives, infrastructure, and livelihoods.

The HIWAT system has been installed at the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), and implementation plans are underway at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). Beyond these, various organisations, including Government of Nepal’s Building Information Platform Against Disaster (BIPAD), Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), among others, actively harness HIWAT data for diverse applications in verifying extreme hydrological and meteorological events. At the grassroots level, municipalities, international non-profit organisations, and numerous non-governmental organisations utilise HIWAT data to enhance local-level decision-making processes regarding forecasting extreme weather events.

“The HIWAT and Flash Flood Prediction Tool are very user-friendly. During monsoon, we utilise HIWAT data for forecasting and monitoring weather, such as rainfall and flash floods, to complement information provided by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Nepal. We disseminate HIWAT information with the community via radio and television through municipalities. We are also partnering with ICIMOD to develop a mobile app to reach the most vulnerable people in the community.” – Niru Pradhan, Program Coordinator, Danish Red Cross

Related science applications

HIWAT Bangladesh

HIWAT Bhutan



Jaber Hassan

Digital Communications and Outreach Officer, SERVIR-HKH

Manish Shrestha


Kiran Shakya

Geospatial Application Development Specialist