Techniques for estimating the magnitude and frequency of floods in rural basins of South Carolina, 1999

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2002-4140




Data from 167 streamflow-gaging stations in or near South Carolina with 10 or more years of record through September 30, 1999, were used to develop two methods for estimating the magnitude and frequency of floods in South Carolina for rural ungaged basins that are not significantly affected by regulation. Flood frequency estimates for 54 gaged sites in South Carolina were computed by fitting the water-year peak flows for each site to a log-Pearson Type III distribution. As part of the computation of flood-frequency estimates for gaged sites, new values for generalized skew coefficients were developed. Flood-frequency analyses also were made for gaging stations that drain basins from more than one physiographic province. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, updated these data from previous flood-frequency reports to aid officials who are active in floodplain management as well as those who design bridges, culverts, and levees, or other structures near streams where flooding is likely to occur. Regional regression analysis, using generalized least squares regression, was used to develop a set of predictive equations that can be used to estimate the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year recurrence-interval flows for rural ungaged basins in the Blue Ridge, Piedmont, upper Coastal Plain, and lower Coastal Plain physiographic provinces of South Carolina. The predictive equations are all functions of drainage area. Average errors of prediction for these regression equations ranged from -16 to 19 percent for the 2-year recurrence-interval flow in the upper Coastal Plain to -34 to 52 percent for the 500-year recurrence interval flow in the lower Coastal Plain. A region-of-influence method also was developed that interactively estimates recurrence- interval flows for rural ungaged basins in the Blue Ridge of South Carolina. The region-of-influence method uses regression techniques to develop a unique relation between flow and basin characteristics for an individual watershed. This, then, can be used to estimate flows at ungaged sites. Because the computations required for this method are somewhat complex, a computer application was developed that performs the computations and compares the predictive errors for this method. The computer application includes the option of using the region-of-influence method, or the generalized least squares regression equations from this report to compute estimated flows and errors of prediction specific to each ungaged site. From a comparison of predictive errors using the region-of-influence method with those computed using the regional regression method, the region-of-influence method performed systematically better only in the Blue Ridge and is, therefore, not recommended for use in the other physiographic provinces. Peak-flow data for the South Carolina stations used in the regionalization study are provided in appendix A, which contains gaging station information, log-Pearson Type III statistics, information on stage-flow relations, and water-year peak stages and flows. For informational purposes, water-year peak-flow data for stations on regulated streams in South Carolina also are provided in appendix D. Other information pertaining to the regulated streams is provided in the text of the report.

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Techniques for estimating the magnitude and frequency of floods in rural basins of South Carolina, 1999
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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South Atlantic Water Science Center
iv, 34 p. : ill. (some col.), col. maps ; 28 cm. + 1 CD-ROM (4 3/4 in.)
United States
South Carolina