This paper summarizes the main flash flood early-warning systems of America, Europe, Japan, and Taiwan China and discusses their advantages and disadvantages. The latest development in flash flood prevention is also presented. China’s flash flood prevention system involves three stages. Herein, the warning methods and achievements in the first two stages are introduced in detail. Based on the worldwide experience of flash flood early-warning systems, the general research idea of the third stage is proposed from the viewpoint of requirements for flash flood prevention and construction progress of the next stage in China. Real-time dynamic warning systems can be applied to the early-warning platform at four levels (central level, provincial level, municipal level, and county level) . Through this, soil moisture, peak flow, and water level can be calculated in real-time using distributed hydrological models, and then flash flood warning indexes can be computed based on defined thresholds of runoff and water level. A compound warning index (CWI) can be applied to regions where rainfall and water level are measured by simple equipment. In this manner, flash-flood-related factors such as rainfall intensity and antecedent and cumulative rainfall depths can be determined using the CWI method. The proposed methodology for the third stage could support flash flood prevention measures in the 13th 5-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China (2016–2020). The research achievements will serve as a guidance for flash flood monitoring and warning as well as flood warning in medium and small rivers.