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Insight into Hurricane Maria peak flows from the development and application of the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS): Including Río Grande de Arecibo, Puerto Rico, 1981–2017

November 4, 2022
The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) was used to develop a simulation of watershed hydrology on the island of Puerto Rico for the period 1981–2017, concentrating on the Río Grande de Arecibo, a river with some of the highest streamflows on the island. This development is part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Hydrologic Model (NHM) infrastructure which supports coordinated, comprehensive, and consistent hydrologic modeling at the watershed scale for the coterminous United States (CONUS). A goal of the NHM program is to expand the domain outside of CONUS, leading to a PRMS application in Puerto Rico. This model was used to simulate the effects of Hurricane Maria on daily streamflow and provide information at locations where streamgages were damaged by the hurricane. Comparisons with streamflow estimates made by indirect methods in the field, up to ten times higher than simulated values, lends insight into the uncertainties in both the indirect methods and model simulated values and helps to identify potential error in the daily streamflow estimates. The PRMS can be applied to look at the effects of changes in climate and land use, water management, industrial and public water usage, and many other factors that affect hydrology on the island of Puerto Rico. The model is also designed as a support tool for the USGS National Water Census which provides comprehensive reporting of national information on withdrawal, conveyance, consumptive use, and return flow by water-use category.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Insight into Hurricane Maria peak flows from the development and application of the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS): Including Río Grande de Arecibo, Puerto Rico, 1981–2017
DOI 10.3390/hydrology9110205
Authors Eric Swain, Jason C. Bellino
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Hydrology
Index ID 70238436
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center