During an evaluation of 70 slope-area measurements on higher-gradient streams (stream slopes greater than 0.002) throughout the United States, peak discharge measurements were found to be affected by n values, scour, expansion and contraction losses, viscosity, unsteady flow, number of cross sections, state of flow and stream slope. Problems due to measurement error can often be as great as or greater than 100% and leads to overestimation of the actual peak discharge. This can result in misleading maximum flood values, erroneous flood-frequency analyses and overdesign of flood-plain structures. A brief discussion of these problems, tentative solutions and research needs is presented. The critical-depth method of computing peak discharge provides the most reasonable results in higher-gradient streams. ?? 1987.
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Errors in slope-area computations of peak discharges in mountain streams