Peak Flow Science in Texas

Science Center Objects

Annual peak streamflow (peak flow) at a streamgage is defined as the maximum instantaneous flow in a water year. A water year begins on October 1 and continues through September 30 of the following year. This definition of a water year is used because it more closely follows seasonal weather patterns. Peak flows in Texas can range from zero flow in very dry basins to flows that cause flooding and can cause extensive damage. The USGS Texas Water Science Center (TXWSC) monitors streams with real-time streamflow gaging stations and manual measurements. Visit the links below for more information on our data and science.

Annual peak-streamflow frequency estimates are needed for flood-plain management; for objective assessment of flood risk; for cost-effective design of dams, levees, and other flood-control structures; and for design of roads, bridges, and culverts. Annual peak-streamflow frequency represents the peak streamflow for nine recurrence intervals of 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 250, and 500 years. Common methods for estimation of peak-streamflow frequency for ungaged or unmonitored watersheds are regression equations for each recurrence interval developed for one or more regions. 

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Image shows USGS scientists in PFDs with an acoustic doppler sensor in a flooded river

​​​​​​​Measuring floodwaters in Peach Creek at Highway 90 near Waelder, Texas. (Credit: Cassi Crow, USGS. Public domain.)

PEAK FLOW SCIENCE CAPABILITIES

TXWSC has expertise in peak flow science applications, including, but not limited to: 

  • Marking and surveying high-water marks
  • Determining peak discharge from indirect measurements
  • Analyzing flood-peak magnitudes and their statistical probabilities at selected locations
  • Collecting streamflow using continuous record gages, crest-stage gages, acoustic doppler current profilers, and flow meters.
  • Computing annual peak discharge

 

Find out more about TXWSC flood-response science expertise in this printable information sheet.

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LOOKING FOR PEAK STREAMFLOW DATA?

Texas Peak Streamflow

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CURRENT PEAK FLOW SCIENCE

InFRM Flood Inundation Mapping

Post Hurricane Harvey Assessment