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Title: Impacts of urbanization, antecedent rainfall event, and cyclone tracks on extreme floods at Houston reservoirs during Hurricane Harvey

Abstract

The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of urbanization, antecedent rainfall event (ARE), and varying cyclone tracks on the streamflow—and thus the subsequent reservoir status—during the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey in August-September 2017. Through a hydrological modeling approach, we examined how these factors influenced the inflows, peak pool elevations and outflows of the two most important detention reservoirs in the Houston region, the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. A high-resolution rainfall reanalysis dataset for extreme storm events, along with a suite of synthetic rainfall values from a variety of storm tracks, were adopted to represent both the truth and the maximum possible rainfall during the Hurricane Harvey period. Results showed the following: Urbanization only led to slight increases in peak inflows, not necessarily leading to an increase in peak pool elevations. ARE contributed to the peak inflow and pool elevation slightly. In contrast, if the cyclone had followed the most adverse track consistent with earlier forecasts (all else being equal), the total volumetric flow into the two reservoirs could have been significantly larger (37.00% and 48.70% respectively), thus increasing the peak pool elevations by 1.06 and 1.37 meters respectively. These results suggest that large uncertainties exist formore » flood management at a watershed scale during hurricanes, because of the uncertainties with regard to the cyclone track. This is true even if storm-relative precipitation rates could be predicted perfectly.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1734513
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-153974
Journal ID: 1748-9326
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830; CBET-1805584; CBET-1454297; AGS-1764340
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 15; Journal Issue: 12
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Hurricane Harvey; cyclone track; maximum possible rainfall; urbanization; antecedent rainfall event; flood simulation

Citation Formats

Li, Xudong, Zhao, Gang, Nielsen-Gammon, John, Salazar, Joel, Wigmosta, Mark S., Sun, Ning, Judi, David R., and Gao, Huilin. Impacts of urbanization, antecedent rainfall event, and cyclone tracks on extreme floods at Houston reservoirs during Hurricane Harvey. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abc4ff.
Li, Xudong, Zhao, Gang, Nielsen-Gammon, John, Salazar, Joel, Wigmosta, Mark S., Sun, Ning, Judi, David R., & Gao, Huilin. Impacts of urbanization, antecedent rainfall event, and cyclone tracks on extreme floods at Houston reservoirs during Hurricane Harvey. United States. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abc4ff
Li, Xudong, Zhao, Gang, Nielsen-Gammon, John, Salazar, Joel, Wigmosta, Mark S., Sun, Ning, Judi, David R., and Gao, Huilin. Mon . "Impacts of urbanization, antecedent rainfall event, and cyclone tracks on extreme floods at Houston reservoirs during Hurricane Harvey". United States. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abc4ff. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1734513.
@article{osti_1734513,
title = {Impacts of urbanization, antecedent rainfall event, and cyclone tracks on extreme floods at Houston reservoirs during Hurricane Harvey},
author = {Li, Xudong and Zhao, Gang and Nielsen-Gammon, John and Salazar, Joel and Wigmosta, Mark S. and Sun, Ning and Judi, David R. and Gao, Huilin},
abstractNote = {The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of urbanization, antecedent rainfall event (ARE), and varying cyclone tracks on the streamflow—and thus the subsequent reservoir status—during the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey in August-September 2017. Through a hydrological modeling approach, we examined how these factors influenced the inflows, peak pool elevations and outflows of the two most important detention reservoirs in the Houston region, the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. A high-resolution rainfall reanalysis dataset for extreme storm events, along with a suite of synthetic rainfall values from a variety of storm tracks, were adopted to represent both the truth and the maximum possible rainfall during the Hurricane Harvey period. Results showed the following: Urbanization only led to slight increases in peak inflows, not necessarily leading to an increase in peak pool elevations. ARE contributed to the peak inflow and pool elevation slightly. In contrast, if the cyclone had followed the most adverse track consistent with earlier forecasts (all else being equal), the total volumetric flow into the two reservoirs could have been significantly larger (37.00% and 48.70% respectively), thus increasing the peak pool elevations by 1.06 and 1.37 meters respectively. These results suggest that large uncertainties exist for flood management at a watershed scale during hurricanes, because of the uncertainties with regard to the cyclone track. This is true even if storm-relative precipitation rates could be predicted perfectly.},
doi = {10.1088/1748-9326/abc4ff},
journal = {Environmental Research Letters},
number = 12,
volume = 15,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {11}
}

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