Floods in Central Texas, September 7–14, 2010

Karl E. Winters

Abstract


Severe flooding occurred near the Austin metropolitan area in central Texas September 7–14, 2010, because of heavy rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Hermine. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District, determined rainfall amounts and annual exceedance probabilities for rainfall resulting in flooding in Bell, Williamson, and Travis counties in central Texas during September 2010. We documented peak streamflows and the annual exceedance probabilities for peak streamflows recorded at several streamflow-gaging stations in the study area. The 24-hour rainfall total exceeded 12 inches at some locations, with one report of 14.57 inches at Lake Georgetown. Rainfall probabilities were estimated using previously published depth-duration frequency maps for Texas. At 4 sites in Williamson County, the 24-hour rainfall had an annual exceedance probability of 0.002. Streamflow measurement data and flood-peak data from U.S. Geological Survey surface-water monitoring stations (streamflow and reservoir gaging stations) are presented, along with a comparison of September 2010 flood peaks to previous known maximums in the periods of record. Annual exceedance probabilities for peak streamflow were computed for 20 streamflow-gaging stations based on an analysis of streamflow-gaging station records. The annual exceedance probability was 0.03 for the September 2010 peak streamflow at the Geological Survey’s streamflow-gaging stations 08104700 North Fork San Gabriel River near Georgetown, Texas, and 08154700 Bull Creek at Loop 360 near Austin, Texas. The annual exceedance probability was 0.02 for the peak streamflow for Geological Survey´s streamflow-gaging station 08104500 Little River near Little River, Texas. The lack of similarity in the annual exceedance probabilities computed for precipitation and streamflow might be attributed to the small areal extent of the heaviest rainfall over these and the other gaged watersheds.

Keywords


flood, Hermine, Texas, 2010, annual exceedance probability

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Texas Water Journal

The Texas Water Journal is an online, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the timely consideration of Texas water resources management and policy issues from a multidisciplinary perspective that integrates science, engineering, law, planning, and other disciplines. It also provides updates on key state legislation and policy changes by Texas administrative agencies.

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