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Flooding in the Northeastern United States, 2011

Professional Paper 1821

By:
ORCID iD , ORCID iD , and
https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1821

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Abstract

Flooding in the Northeastern United States during 2011 was widespread and record setting. This report summarizes peak streamflows that were recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) during separate flooding events in February, March, April, May, July, August, and September. The flooding of late April, which combined snowmelt and heavy rain and the floods associated with the tropical storms of late August and September, were the most severe and widespread. Precipitation totals from March to May for Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont were documented as being the highest totals in 117 years of record. In late August, the heavy rains associated with Hurricane Irene produced widespread flooding in many parts of the Northeastern United States, which resulted in damage estimates in excess of $7 billion and approximately 45 deaths. In September, Tropical Storm Lee produced 6–12 inches of rain in parts of the Northeastern United States adding to the growing total of record peak streamflows set in 2011.

The annual exceedance probability (AEP) for 327 streamgages in the Northeastern United States were computed using annual peak streamflow data through 2011 and are included in this report. The 2011 peak streamflow for 129 of those streamgages was estimated to have an AEP of less than or equal to 1 percent. Almost 100 of these peak streamflows were a result of the flooding associated with Hurricane Irene in late August 2011. More extreme than the 1-percent AEP, is the 0.2-percent AEP. The USGS recorded peak streamflows at 31 streamgages that equaled or exceeded the estimated 0.2-percent AEP during 2011. Collectively, the USGS recorded peak streamflows having estimated AEPs of less than 1 percent in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont and new period-of-record peak streamflows were recorded at more than 180 streamgages resulting from the floods of 2011.

Suggested Citation

Suro, T.P., Roland, M.A., and Kiah, R.G., 2015, Flooding in the Northeastern United States, 2011: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1821, 32 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/pp1821.

ISSN: 2330-7102 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Purpose and Scope
  • Collection and Application of Streamflow Data during Floods
  • 2011 Flooding—Causes, Chronology, and Magnitude
  • 2011 Flooding—Comparison with Historic Floods
  • Annual Exceedance Probability Analysis for 2011
  • Annual Exceedance Probability using Expected Moments Algorithm
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Glossary

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Flooding in the Northeastern United States, 2011
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
1821
DOI:
10.3133/pp1821
Year Published:
2015
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Office of Surface Water
Description:
Report: v, 32 p.; 2 Tables
Country:
United States
State:
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
Y