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Precipitation-driven flood-inundation mapping of the Little Blue River at Grandview, Missouri

January 7, 2022

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Grandview, Missouri, assessed flooding of the Little Blue River at Grandview resulting from varying precipitation magnitudes and durations and expected land-cover changes. The precipitation scenarios were used to develop a library of flood-inundation maps that included a 3.5-mile reach of the Little Blue River and tributaries within and adjacent to the city.

A hydrologic model of the upper Little Blue River Basin and a hydraulic model of a selected study reach of the Little Blue River and tributaries were constructed to assess streamflow magnitudes associated with simulated precipitation amounts and the resulting flood-inundation conditions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC–HMS; version 4.4.1) was used to simulate the amount of streamflow produced from a range of rain events. The Hydrologic Engineering Center-River Analysis System (HEC–RAS; version 5.0.7) was then used to construct a steady-state hydraulic model to map resulting areas of flood inundation.

Both models were calibrated to the May 28, 2020, high-flow event that produced a peak streamflow approximating a 10-percent annual exceedance probability (10-year flood-frequency recurrence interval) at the Little Blue River at Grandview streamgage (USGS station 06893750). The calibrated HEC–HMS model was used to simulate streamflows from design rainfall events of 1- to 8-hour durations and ranging from a 100- to 0.2-percent annual exceedance probability. Flood-inundation maps were produced for USGS streamflow stages of 17.0 feet (ft), or near bankfull, to 23.0 ft, or a stage exceeding the 0.2-percent annual exceedance interval flood, using the HEC–RAS model. The consequence of each precipitation duration-frequency value was represented by a 1-ft increment inundation map based on the generated peak streamflow from that rainfall event and the corresponding stage at the reference USGS streamgage.

Four scenarios were developed with the HEC–HMS hydrologic model: (1) current (2016) land cover, normal antecedent soil-moisture conditions; (2) current land cover, wet antecedent soil-moisture conditions; (3) future land cover, normal antecedent soil-moisture conditions; and (4) future land cover, wet antecedent soil-moisture conditions. The future land-cover condition was estimated based on anticipated development in the basin. All precipitation scenarios were input into each of the four land-cover antecedent moisture conditions and then assigned to a resulting flood-inundation map based on the generated peak flow and corresponding stage at the reference streamgage.