Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP)
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SWFDP Regional Subproject in Southern Africa

(SWFDP-Southern Africa)

Beneficiary Countries:

16 countries in Southern Africa:

Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe,

Regional Centres:

RSMC-Pretoria (lead regional centre)

RSMC-La Réunion (for tropical cyclone forecast support)

Contributing Global Centres:

UKMO; ECMWF; NCEP/NOAA; and EUMETSAT (for satellite products)

Start of Project planning and  development:

In 2006

Subproject website since 2006:

RSMC Pretoria:

Main Focus:

Heavy rain, strong winds, large waves, dry spells, severe thunderstorms

Present Status:

In Phase-IV (sustain operations and continue development) since January 2012

Download:  Regional Subproject Implementation Plan (RSIP)     draft (2011 version)

Mainly Norwegian funds upto 2014


USAID/OFDA funds during 2014-2016 for twining of SWFDP & FFGS in South Africa

 SWFDP Development in Southern Africa

The first ever SWFDP regional subproject was started in 2006 with involvement of just five countries in south-eastern Africa. The success story of this subproject provided basis for expansion of SWFDP into whole Southern Africa in 2009 and into other sub-regions of the world later, including South Pacific, Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia and Bay of Bengal (South Asia).  

The (kick-off) Technical Planning Meeting of SWFDP regional subproject in RA I (Africa) was held in July/August 2006 and this was followed by a Preparatory Training session for the subproject in October/November 2006 at RSMC Pretoria (South Africa). The demonstration phase of the subproject was started in November 2006 with participation of Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, and with contributions from RSMC Pretoria and RSMC La Réunion as lead regional centre for SWFDP and for tropical cyclone forecast support respectively. The subproject mainly focuses on heavy precipitation, strong winds and damaging waves. The contributing global centres are ECMWF, UK Met Office and NOAA/NCEP (USA) for NWP products and EUMETSAT for satellite information.  The subproject management/implementation team met in Maputo, Mozambique during February/March, 2007 to review the progress and update the Regional Subproject Implementation Plan (RSIP).

The Extraordinary Session of Commission for Basic Systems (CBS, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 9-16 November, 2006) noted the progress of the SWFDP and also established a Steering Group on SWFDP for developing overall project plan and to provide guidance to SWFDP regional subprojects. The CBS recommended that the SWFDP should include the involvement of Disaster Management and Civil Protection Authorities (DMCPAs) to improve the delivery of severe weather warning services. Regarding this aspect, collaboration with the PWS and DRR programmes is encouraged.

The CBS agreed that the identification and development of case studies, with participation by the relevant centres, is a high priority within the project.

Noting the significant development and progress of the SWFDP, from concepts to the first SWFDP regional subproject in southeast Africa, Fifteenth Session of World Meteorological Congress (Cg-XV, 2007) decided that its concept  should be expanded and implemented throughout RA I and to other WMO Regions especially in developing countries. In that regard, Cg-XV requested the CBS to consider the possibility of implementing similar projects in Africa and the South Pacific Islands.

In 2008, based on successful one-year demonstration of SWFDP in southeast Africa, the Meteorological Association of Southern Africa (MASA), a subsidiary group in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), proposed on behalf its members to WMO that the SWFDP be sustained and expanded to include the NMHSs of its members. With the agreement of the WMO Centres that provided daily guidance products in the demonstration project to maintain their support, the EC-60 (18-27 June, 2008) suggested a transition of the demonstration project to an operational state and the inclusion of the NMHSs of the MASA (SADC members) in view of the significant benefits, for example as expressed at Cg-XV. In that connection, the EC-60 also agreed to continue to explore the possibilities of setting up similar demonstration projects in other WMO Regions. Subsequently, the SWFDP in Southern Africa was expanded to all 16 countries of the region (i.e. 15 SADC member countries, and Comoros).

During 2009-2011, the subproject evaluation and demonstration continues with participation of all 16 countries and with contributions from global and regional centres.

Transition to Phase IV (sustain operations and continue development)

The regional technical implementation team (RTIT) of SWFDP-Southern Africa, in July 2011, reviewed the progress and implementation plan including subproject evaluation against its goals and objectives and its benefits to the NMHSs in improving severe weather forecasting and providing alerts and warnings for hydrometeorological hazards. The RTIT, viewing the future of the subproject invloving its transition to Phase-IV and including shift of management under WMO/CBS to within the WMO Regional Association I (Africa), wished to encourage MASA, i.e. its NMHS members, to support the future activities of SWFDP – Southern Africa. The RTIT also suggested for development of new project implementation plan to be referred as “Regional Phase 4 Implementation Plan (“RP4IP”). The SWFDP should seek collaboration and build synergies with other relevant programmes and activities, including Southern Africa Region Flash Flood Guidance System (SARFFGS), and tapping on promising research outcomes, or legacies of regional research field campaigns, such as GIFS-TIGGE. Currently, SARFFGS involves nine countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The RTIT also suggested several recommendations for the improvement of the implementation of the PWS component in the next phase of the project, including importance of developing of SOPs for the internal operations of NMHSs as well as for working with media and DMCPAs.

SWFDP-Southern Africa has been managed by MASA with support of RTIT since January 2012 and RTIT has maintained regular reporting to CBS Steering Group on SWFDP. With contributions from participating global centres, SWFDP-Southern Africa has been sustaining its operations with continuous development activities.

Satellite based and NWP embedded Nowcasting products have been developed and made available to the NMHSs for severe thunderstorms and hailstorms.

The efforts for twinning of SWFDP-Southern Africa with SARFFGS were performed during 2014-2016 with support of USAID/OFDA. Eventually, SWFDP-Southern Africa aims to provide operational support for Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) in the region.


SWFDP-Southern Africa: Activities & Milestones since 2006


  • The (kick-off) Planning Meeting of SWFDP Regional Subproject in RA I (Southeast Africa) held at RSMC, Pretoria (31 July to 3 August, 2006) to prepare outline of Regional Subproject Implementation Plan (RSIP)
  • 4-Day Preparatory training in Pretoria, South Africa (31 October-3 November 2006) with participation of Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe
  • Start of RSMC, Pretoria web portal
  • Start of Demonstration phase in November, 2006


  • Meeting of RSMT held in Maputo, Mozambique (27 February -2 March, 2007) to review the progress and update the RSIP
  • Two-week Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) in Pretoria, South Africa (29 October – 9 Nov, 2007)


  • Evaluation of the subproject demonstration
  • The subproject was expanded to benefit 16 countries in Southern Africa
  • Two-week Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) in Pretoria, South Africa (10-21 November 2008)


  • Meeting of RTIT (formerly RSMT) held in Pretoria, South Africa (24-27 February, 2009) to review the RSIP and assess evaluation of the subproject
  • Two-week Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) in Pretoria, South Africa (26 October -6 November 2009)


  • Meeting of RTIT held in Flic-en-Flac, Mauritius (10-22 July, 2011) to review progress and discuss transition of the subproject into operations (Phase-IV) and to update RSIP accordingly


  • The subproject entered Phase IV (long-term sustainability & future development) from January 2012
  • In Phase IV, Meteorological Association of Southern Africa (MASA), a subsidiary body of Southern African Development Community (SADC), took over the management of SWFDP-Southern Africa from WMO
  • Two-weeks Training Workshop (GDPFS/PWS) in Pretoria, South Africa (12-23 November, 2012)


  • Meeting of RTIT held in Pretoria, South Africa (23-27 September, 2013) to discuss and review RSIP for Phase IV
  • Two-weeks Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) in Pretoria, South Africa (11-22 November, 2013)
  • Two-week RSMC Training Desk (attachment of two forecasters from Malawi & Mozambique) at RSMC Pretoria (28 October-8 November 2013)


  • Twinning of SWFDP-Southern Africa and Southern Africa Flash Flood Forecast Guidance (SARFFG) was initiated
  • Two-week RSMC Training Desk in Pretoria (20-31 October 2014)
  • SARFFGS training for 7 countries in Pretoria (29 October 2014 and 31 October 2014)
  • Two-weeks Training Workshop (GDPFS & PWS) in Pretoria, South Africa (3-14 November, 2014)


  • Two-weeks Training Workshop (FFGS, GDPFS & PWS) in Pretoria, South Africa (9-20 November, 2015)


Two-weeks Training Workshop (FFGS, GDPFS & PWS) in Pretoria, South Africa (24 October -4 November, 2016) invloving following components:

  • 3-day training workshop (24-26 October 2016) on SARFFGS with participation of operational forecasters and hydrologists
  • 3-day training workshop (27-29 October 2016) on severe weather forecasting (GDPFS) with participation of operational forecasters
  • one-week training workshop (31 October - 4 November 2016) on delivery of warning services (PWS) with participation of operational forecasters and disaster managers




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