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Flood frequency estimates and documented and potential extreme peak discharges in Oklahoma

January 1, 2002

Knowledge of the magnitude and frequency of floods is required for the safe and economical design of highway bridges, culverts, dams, levees, and other structures on or near streams; and for flood plain management programs. Flood frequency estimates for gaged streamflow sites were updated, documented extreme peak discharges for gaged and miscellaneous measurement sites were tabulated, and potential extreme peak discharges for Oklahoma streamflow sites were estimated. Potential extreme peak discharges, derived from the relation between documented extreme peak discharges and contributing drainage areas, can provide valuable information concerning the maximum peak discharge that could be expected at a stream site. Potential extreme peak discharge is useful in conjunction with flood frequency analysis to give the best evaluation of flood risk at a site.

Peak discharge and flood frequency for selected recurrence intervals from 2 to 500 years were estimated for 352 gaged streamflow sites. Data through 1999 water year were used from streamflow-gaging stations with at least 8 years of record within Oklahoma or about 25 kilometers into the bordering states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas. These sites were in unregulated basins, and basins affected by regulation, urbanization, and irrigation.

Documented extreme peak discharges and associated data were compiled for 514 sites in and near Oklahoma, 352 with streamflow-gaging stations and 162 at miscellaneous measurements sites or streamflow-gaging stations with short record, with a total of 671 measurements.The sites are fairly well distributed statewide, however many streams, large and small, have never been monitored.

Potential extreme peak-discharge curves were developed for streamflow sites in hydrologic regions of the state based on documented extreme peak discharges and the contributing drainage areas.

Two hydrologic regions, east and west, were defined using 98 degrees 15 minutes longitude as the dividing line.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2001
Title Flood frequency estimates and documented and potential extreme peak discharges in Oklahoma
DOI 10.3133/wri20014152
Authors Robert L. Tortorelli, Lan P. McCabe
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 2001-4152
Index ID wri20014152
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization U.S. Geological Survey