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Rainfall-runoff models are used as an integral part of flood warning systems. Especially in small catchment areas with a fast response to intense rain, an early enough triggering of warnings requires high quality weather forecasts as well as sufficiently accurate models. A conceptual rainfall-runoff model proposed by Lorent/Gevers serves as core routine of a pilot flash flood warning system for the Truse catchment in Thuringia (Germany). A moving horizon state estimator is used in order to enable this model for online application.