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Fifty-year flood-inundation maps for Comayagua, Hondura

January 1, 2002

After the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, maps of the areas and depths of the 50-year-flood inundation at 15 municipalities in Honduras were prepared as a tool for agencies involved in reconstruction and planning. This report, which is one in a series of 15, presents maps of areas in the municipality of Comayagua that would be inundated by 50-year floods on Rio Humuya and Rio Majada. Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages of the flood inundation are available on a computer in the municipality of Comayagua as part of the Municipal GIS project and on the Internet at the Flood Hazard Mapping Web page ( These coverages allow users to view the flood inundation in much more detail than is possible using the maps in this report.

Water-surface elevations for 50-year-floods on Rio Humuya and Rio Majada at Comayagua were estimated using HEC-RAS, a one-dimensional, steady-flow, step-backwater computer program. The channel and floodplain cross sections used in HEC-RAS were developed from an airborne light-detection-and-ranging (LIDAR) topographic survey of the area.

The 50-year-flood discharge for Rio Humuya at Comayagua, 1,400 cubic meters per second, was estimated using a regression equation that relates the 50-year-flood discharge to drainage area and mean annual precipitation. The reasonableness of the regression discharge was evaluated by comparing it with drainage-area-adjusted 50-year-flood discharges estimated for three long-term Rio Humuya stream-gaging stations. The drainage-area-adjusted 50-year-flood discharges estimated from the gage records ranged from 946 to 1,365 cubic meters per second. Because the regression equation discharge agrees closely with the high end of the range of discharges estimated from the gaging-station records, it was used for the hydraulic modeling to ensure that the resulting 50-year-flood water-surface elevations would not be underestimated.

The 50-year-flood discharge for Rio Majada at Comayagua (230 cubic meters per second) was estimated using the regression equation because there are no long-term gaging-stations on this river from which to estimate the discharge.

Publication Year 2002
Title Fifty-year flood-inundation maps for Comayagua, Hondura
DOI 10.3133/ofr02251
Authors David L. Kresch, Mark C. Mastin, T. D. Olsen
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2002-251
Index ID ofr02251
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse