High-Impact Weather Assessment Toolkit (HIWAT) – Bangladesh


The High-Impact Weather Assessment Toolkit (HIWAT) for Bangladesh uses a mesoscale numerical weather prediction model and the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) constellation of satellites to assess high-impact convective weather events over the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The toolkit includes a suite of ensemble model forecasts to constrain the uncertainties and provides a 54-hour probabilistic forecast for improved decision making. HIWAT provides outlooks for rainfall, probability of lightning, hail, and supercell threat.


HIWAT consists of a NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SpoRT) Center configuration of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model – which utilises the NCEP Global Forecast System model for boundary conditions and incorporates satellite data from the Suomi NPP Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) – to provide probability-based forecast guidance on extreme weather hazards. The system also utilises NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission constellation of satellites and NASA’s Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) onboard the International Space Station to assess thunderstorm intensity.

HIWAT runs on the SERVIR Operational Cluster Resource for Applications – Terabytes for Earth Science (SOCRATES) platform during the pre-monsoon and monsoon season (from March to September every year). The interactive visualisation system for HIWAT is built on Tethys, an open-source platform for water resources web app development, to disseminate the hazard forecast products effectively.


Analytical tools

The tool runs every day at 13:00 (UTC) and provides a forecast for the next 54 hours. The web application provides accumulated weather information for the next 54 hours at the district level as well as information at every one-hour interval.

The application displays the following layers, which can be toggled on and off:

  • District labels
  • District boundary
  • Rainfall (mm)
  • Probability of lightning (%)
  • Probability of hail threat (%)
  • Probability of supercell threat (%)

Users can also zoom into their area of interest by using the search bar. By clicking on the desired district, the tool displays the accumulated 54-hour outlook for all weather parameters for the selected district.

HIWAT Bangladesh Rangamati


NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed HIWAT as part of the NASA SERVIR Applied Sciences Team project. ICIMOD’s SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) Initiative worked with the NASA SERVIR Science Coordination Office, NASA MSFC, and Brigham Young University to further customise HIWAT.

In close collaboration with Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), the team has been validating HIWAT predictions using both qualitative (using damage reports sourced from regional media outlets) and quantitative (using relevant meteorological observations) methods. Professionals at BMD have been trained in its use.  The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) has adopted the toolkit to enhance its operational forecasting.


For feedback/comments, please write to servirhkh@icimod.org

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