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Flood-inundation maps for the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston, Rhode Island

Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5043

Prepared in cooperation with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
By:
https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185043

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Abstract

A series of 15 digital flood-inundation maps was developed for a 10.2-mile reach of the Pawtuxet River in the municipalities of West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston, Rhode Island, by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The coverage of the maps extends downstream from Natick Pond dam near State Route 33/Providence Street bridge in West Warwick to the mouth of the river at Pawtuxet Cove (Broad Street bridge) on the border between Cranston and Warwick, R.I. A one-dimensional step-backwater hydraulic model created and calibrated for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance Studies for Kent and Providence Counties in 2015 was updated for this study. The updated hydraulic model reflects the removal of the Pawtuxet Falls dam during 2011 and the raised elevation of a levee surrounding the Warwick Sewer Authority wastewater treatment facility during 2014–17. The hydraulic model was calibrated by using the current (2018) stage-discharge relation at the USGS Pawtuxet River at Cranston, Rhode Island, streamgage (01116500) and documented high-water marks from the March 31, 2010, flood, which had a peak flow greater than the estimated 0.2-percent annual exceedance probability floodflow.

The hydraulic model was used to compute water-surface profiles for 15 flood stages at 1-foot (ft) intervals referenced to the USGS Pawtuxet River at Cranston, Rhode Island, streamgage (01116500) and ranging from 8.0 ft (15.2 ft, North American Vertical Datum of 1988), which is the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service flood category “action stage,” to 22.0 ft (29.2 ft, North American Vertical Datum of 1988), which is the maximum stage of the stage-discharge relation at the streamgage and exceeds the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service flood category “major flood stage” of 13.0 ft. The simulated water-surface profiles were combined with a geographic information system digital elevation model derived from light detection and ranging (lidar) data with a 1.0-ft vertical accuracy to create flood-inundation maps. The flood-inundation maps depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to 15 selected flood stages at the streamgage. The flood-inundation maps depict only riverine flooding and do not depict any tidal backwater or coastal storm surge that might occur in the lower part of the river reach. The flood-inundation maps can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Science website at https://water.usgs.gov/osw/flood_inundation. Near-real-time stages and discharges at the Pawtuxet River streamgage can be obtained from the USGS National Water Information System at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/. The National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service provides flood forecasts of stage for this site (CRAR1) at https:/water.weather.gov/ahps/.

The availability of flood-inundation maps referenced to current and forecasted water levels at the USGS Pawtuxet River at Cranston, Rhode Island, streamgage (01116500) can provide emergency management personnel and residents with information that is critical for flood response activities, such as evacuations and road closures, and postflood recovery efforts. The flood-inundation maps are nonregulatory but provide Federal, State, and local agencies and the public with estimates of the potential extent of flooding during flood events.

Suggested Citation

Bent, G.C., and Lombard, P.J., 2018, Flood-inundation maps for the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston, Rhode Island: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5043, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185043.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Creation of Flood-Inundation Map Library
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Flood-inundation maps for the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston, Rhode Island
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2018-5043
DOI:
10.3133/sir20185043
Year Published:
2018
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
New England Water Science Center
Description:
Report: vii, 16 p.; Application; Data Release
Country:
United States
State:
Rhode Island
City:
Cranston, Warwick, West Warwick
Other Geospatial:
Pawtuxet River
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N