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Development of regression equations for the estimation of flood flows at ungaged streams in Pennsylvania

January 1, 2019

Regression equations, which may be used to estimate flood flows at select annual exceedance probabilities, were developed for ungaged streams in Pennsylvania. The equations were developed using annual peak flow data through water year 2015 and basin characteristics for 285 streamflow gaging stations across Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The streamgages included active and discontinued continuous-record stations, as well as crest-stage partial-record stations, and required a minimum of 10 years of annual peak streamflow data for inclusion in the study. Explanatory variables significant at the 95-percent confidence level for one or more regression equations included the following basin characteristics: drainage area, maximum basin elevation, mean basin slope, percent storage, and the percentage of carbonate bedrock within a basin. The State was divided into five regions, and regional regression equations were developed to estimate flood flows associated with the 50-, 20-, 10-, 4-, 2-, 1-, 0.5-, and 0.2-percent annual exceedance probabilities (which correspond to the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year recurrence intervals, respectively). Although the regression equations can be used to estimate the magnitude of flood flows for most streams in the State, they are not valid for streams with drainage areas generally greater than 1,500 square miles or with substantial regulation, diversion, or mining activity within the basin. The regional regression equations will be incorporated into the U.S. Geological Survey StreamStats application (

Additionally, annual peak flow data for 356 streamgages initially considered for inclusion in the analysis for development of updated flood-flow regression equations were analyzed for the existence of trends; estimates of flood-flow magnitude and frequency were also computed for these streamgages. Estimates of flood-flow magnitude and frequency for streamgages substantially affected by upstream regulation are also presented.

Publication Year 2019
Title Development of regression equations for the estimation of flood flows at ungaged streams in Pennsylvania
DOI 10.3133/sir20195094
Authors Mark A. Roland, Marla H. Stuckey
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2019-5094
Index ID sir20195094
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pennsylvania Water Science Center