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Evaluation of the flood hydrology in the Colorado Front Range using precipitation, streamflow, and paleoflood data for the Big Thompson River basin

Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4117

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Abstract

A multidisciplinary study of precipitation and streamflow data and paleohydrologic studies of channel features was made to analyze the flood hydrology of foothill and mountain streams in the Front Range of Colorado, with emphasis on the Big Thompson River basin, because conventional hydrologic analyses do not adequately characterize the flood hydrology. In the foothills of Colorado, annual floodflows are derived from snowmelt at high elevations in the mountain regions, from rainfall at low elevation in the plains or plateau regions, or from a combination of rain falling on snow or mixed population hydrology. Above approximately 7,500 ft, snowmelt dominates; rain does not contribute to the flood potential. Regional flood-frequency relations were developed and compared with conventional flood-estimating technique results, including an evaluation of the magnitude and frequency of the probable maximum flood. Evaluation of streamflow data and paleoflood investigations provide an alternative for evaluating flood hydrology and the safety of dams. The study indicates the need for additional data collection and research to understand the complexities of the flood hydrology in mountainous regions, especially its effects on flood-plain management and the design of structures in the flood plain. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Evaluation of the flood hydrology in the Colorado Front Range using precipitation, streamflow, and paleoflood data for the Big Thompson River basin
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
87-4117
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1988
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports [distributor],
Description:
iv, 37 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.