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Fifty-year flood-inundation maps for La Lima, Honduras

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 La Lima that would be inundated by Rio Chamelecon with a discharge of 500 cubic meters per second, the approximate capacity of the river channel through the city of La Lima. The 50-year flood (2,400 cubic meters per second), the original design flow to be mapped, would inundate the entire area surveyed for this municipality. Because water-surface elevations of the 50-year flood could not be mapped properly without substantially expanding the area of the survey, the available data were used instead to estimate the channel capacity of Rio Chamelecon in La Lima by trial-and-error runs of different flows in a numerical model and to estimate the increase in height of levees needed to contain flows of 1,000 and 2,400 cubic meters per second. Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages of the flood inundation are available on a computer in the municipality of La Lima 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 various discharges on Rio Chamelecon at La Lima were determined 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 and ground surveys at three bridges. Top-of-levee or top-of-channel-bank elevations and locations at the cross sections were critical to estimating the channel capacity of Rio Chamelecon. These elevations and locations are provided along with the water-surface elevations for the 500-cubic-meter-per-second flow of Rio Chamelecon. Also, water-surface elevations of the 1,000 and 2,400 cubic-meter-per-second flows are provided, assuming that the existing levees are raised to contained the flows.

Publication Year 2002
Title Fifty-year flood-inundation maps for La Lima, Honduras
DOI 10.3133/ofr02255
Authors Mark C. Mastin, T. D. Olsen
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2002-255
Index ID ofr02255
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse