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 Tocoa that would be inundated by a 50-year flood of Rio Tocoa. Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages of the flood inundation are available on a computer in the municipality of Tocoa 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 Tocoa at Tocoa were estimated 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 one bridge. There are no nearby long-term stream-gaging stations on Rio Tocoa; therefore, the 50-year-flood discharge for Rio Tocoa, 552 cubic meters per second, 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 Tocoa at Tocoa are 204 square kilometers and 1,987 millimeters, respectively. It was assumed that a portion of the 50-year flood, 200 cubic meters per second, would escape the main channel and flow down a side channel before re-entering the main channel again near the lower end of the study area.