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A Unified Flash Flood Database across the United States

June 1, 2013

Despite flash flooding being one of the most deadly and costly weather-related natural hazards worldwide, individual datasets to characterize them in the United States are hampered by limited documentation and can be difficult to access. This study is the first of its kind to assemble, reprocess, describe, and disseminate a georeferenced U.S. database providing a long-term, detailed characterization of flash flooding in terms of spatiotemporal behavior and specificity of impacts. The database is composed of three primary sources: 1) the entire archive of automated discharge observations from the U.S. Geological Survey that has been reprocessed to describe individual flooding events, 2) flash-flooding reports collected by the National Weather Service from 2006 to the present, and 3) witness reports obtained directly from the public in the Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment during the summers 2008–10. Each observational data source has limitations; a major asset of the unified flash flood database is its collation of relevant information from a variety of sources that is now readily available to the community in common formats. It is anticipated that this database will be used for many diverse purposes, such as evaluating tools to predict flash flooding, characterizing seasonal and regional trends, and improving understanding of dominant flood-producing processes. We envision the initiation of this community database effort will attract and encompass future datasets.

Publication Year 2013
Title A Unified Flash Flood Database across the United States
DOI 10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00198.1
Authors Jonathan J. Gourley, Yang Hong, Zachary L. Flamig, Ami Arthur, Robert Clark, Martin Calianno, Isabelle Ruin, Terry W. Ortel, Michael Wieczorek, Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter, Edward Clark, Witold F. Krajewski
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Index ID 70048422
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Illinois Water Science Center; Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Water Science Center