The October 31, 1998, flood on Cowskin Creek in western Wichita, Kansas, caused millions of dollars in damages. Emergency management personnel and flood mitigation teams had difficulty in efficiently identifying areas affected by the flooding, and no warning was given to residents because flood-inundation information was not available.
To provide detailed information about future flooding on Cowskin Creek, high-resolution estimated flood-inundation maps were developed using geographic information system technology and advanced hydraulic analysis. Two-foot-interval land-surface elevation data from a 1996 flood insurance study were used to create a three-dimensional topographic representation of the study area for hydraulic analysis. The data computed from the hydraulic analyses were converted into geographic information system format with software from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hydrologic Engineering Center. The results were overlaid on the three-dimensional topographic representation of the study area to produce maps of estimated flood-inundation areas and estimated depths of water in the inundated areas for 1-foot increments on the basis of stream stage at an index streamflow-gaging station.
A Web site (http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/cowskin.floodwatch) was developed to provide the public with information pertaining to flooding in the study area. The Web site shows graphs of the real-time streamflow data for U.S. Geological Survey gaging stations in the area and monitors the National Weather Service Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center for Cowskin Creek flood-forecast information. When a flood is forecast for the Cowskin Creek Basin, an estimated flood-inundation map is displayed for the stream stage closest to the National Weather Service's forecasted peak stage. Users of the Web site are able to view the estimated flood-inundation maps for selected stages at any time and to access information about this report and about flooding in general. Flood recovery teams also have the ability to view the estimated flood-inundation map pertaining to the most recent flood. The availability of these maps and the ability to monitor the real-time stream stage through the U.S. Geological Survey Web site provide emergency management personnel and residents with information that is critical for evacuation and rescue efforts in the event of a flood as well as for post-flood recovery efforts.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Estimated flood-inundation maps for Cowskin Creek in western Wichita, Kansas