After the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, maps of the areas and depths of the 50-year-flood inundation at 15 municipalities in Honduras were prepared as a tool for agencies involved in reconstruction and planning. This report, which is one in a series of 15, presents maps of areas in the municipality of La Ceiba that would be inundated by a 50-year-flood of Rio Cangrejal. Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages of the flood inundation are available on a computer in the municipality of La Ceiba as part of the Municipal GIS project and on the Internet at the Flood Hazard Mapping Web page (http://mitchnts1.cr.usgs.gov/projects/floodhazard.html). These coverages allow users to view the flood inundation in much more detail than is possible using the maps in this report.
Water-surface elevations for a 50-year-flood discharge of 1,030 cubic meters per second on Rio Cangrejal at La Ceiba were computed using HEC-RAS, a one-dimensional, steady-flow, step-backwater computer program. The channel and floodplain cross sections used in HEC-RAS were developed from an airborne light-detection-and-ranging (LIDAR) topographic survey of the area. There are no nearby long-term stream-gaging stations on Rio Cangrejal; therefore, the 50-year-flood discharge for Rio Cangrejal at La Ceiba was estimated using a regression equation that relates the 50-year-flood discharge to drainage area and mean annual precipitation. The drainage area and mean annual precipitation estimated for Rio Cangrejal at La Ceiba are 498 square kilometers and 2,306 millimeters, respectively.