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Flood recovery maps for the White River in Bethel, Stockbridge, and Rochester, Vermont, and the Tweed River in Stockbridge and Pittsfield, Vermont, 2014

June 3, 2015

From August 28 to 29, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene delivered rainfall ranging from about 4 inches to more than 7 inches in the White River Basin. The rainfall resulted in severe flooding throughout the basin and significant damage along the White River and Tweed River. In response to the flooding, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, conducted a new flood study to aid in the flood recovery and restoration. This flood study includes a 20.7-mile reach of the White River from the downstream end at about 2,000 feet downstream from the State Route 107 bridge in the Village of Bethel, Vermont, to the upstream end at about 1,000 feet upstream from the River Brook Drive bridge in the Village of Rochester, Vt., and a 7.9-mile reach of the Tweed River from its mouth in Stockbridge, Vt., to the confluence of the West and South Branches of the Tweed River and continuing upstream on the South Branch Tweed River to the Pittsfield, Vt., town line.

This report presents water-surface elevations determined for the study reaches using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers one-dimensional step-backwater Hydrologic Engineering Center River Analysis System model, also known as HEC– RAS. The water-surface elevations were determined for floods having a 10-, 4-, 2-, 1-, and 0.2-percent annual exceedance probability (AEP) and for the floodway.

Eighteen high-water marks from Tropical Storm Irene were available along the studied reaches. The discharges in the Tropical Storm Irene HEC–RAS model were adjusted so that the resulting water-surface elevations matched the high-water mark elevations along the study reaches. This allowed for an estimation of the water-surface profile throughout the study area resulting from Tropical Storm Irene. From a comparison of the estimated water-surface profile of Tropical Storm Irene to the water-surface profiles of the 1- and 0.2-percent AEP floods, it was determined that the high-water elevations resulting from Tropical Storm Irene exceeded the estimated 1-percent AEP flood throughout the White River and Tweed River study reaches and exceeded the estimated 0.2-percent AEP flood in 16.7 of the 28.6 study reach miles. The simulated water-surface profiles were then combined with a geographic information system digital elevation model derived from light detection and ranging (lidar) data having a 18.2-centimeter vertical accuracy at the 95-percent confidence level and 1-meter horizontal resolution to delineate the area flooded for each water-surface profile.

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