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 Sonaguera that would be inundated by a 50-year flood of Rio Sonaguera and its tributary, Rio Juan Lazaro. Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages of the flood inundation are available on a computer in the municipality of Sonaguera 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 an estimated 50-year-flood on Rio Sonaguera and Rio Juan Lazaro at Sonaguera were determined 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 and a ground survey at the bridge. There are no nearby long-term stream-gaging stations on Rio Sonaguera or Rio Juan Lazaro; therefore, the 50-year-flood discharge for Rio Sonaguera above the confluence with Rio Juan Lazaro, 194 cubic meters per second; for Rio Juan Lazaro at its mouth, 168 cubic meters per second, and for Rio Sonaguera at the downstream end of the study area, 282 cubic meters per second; were estimated using a regression equation that relates the 50-year-flood discharge to drainage area and mean annual precipitation.