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Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5137

Prepared in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Transportation; U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration; Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; and the City of Newark and Village of Granville, Ohio

Development of a Flood-Warning System and Flood-Inundation Mapping in Licking County, Ohio

By Chad J. Ostheimer

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Abstract

Digital flood-inundation maps for selected reaches of South Fork Licking River, Raccoon Creek, North Fork Licking River, and the Licking River in Licking County, Ohio, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Transportation; U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration; Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; and the City of Newark and Village of Granville, Ohio. The inundation maps depict estimates of the areal extent of flooding corresponding to water levels (stages) at the following USGS streamgages: South Fork Licking River at Heath, Ohio (03145173); Raccoon Creek below Wilson Street at Newark, Ohio (03145534); North Fork Licking River at East Main Street at Newark, Ohio (03146402); and Licking River near Newark, Ohio (03146500). The maps were provided to the National Weather Service (NWS) for incorporation into a Web-based flood-warning system that can be used in conjunction with NWS flood-forecast data to show areas of predicted flood inundation associated with forecasted flood-peak stages.

As part of the flood-warning streamflow network, the USGS re-installed one streamgage on North Fork Licking River, and added three new streamgages, one each on North Fork Licking River, South Fork Licking River, and Raccoon Creek. Additionally, the USGS upgraded a lake-level gage on Buckeye Lake. Data from the streamgages and lake-level gage can be used by emergency-management personnel, in conjunction with the flood-inundation maps, to help determine a course of action when flooding is imminent.

Flood profiles for selected reaches were prepared by calibrating steady-state step-backwater models to selected, established streamgage rating curves. The step-backwater models then were used to determine water-surface-elevation profiles for up to 10 flood stages at a streamgage with corresponding streamflows ranging from approximately the 50 to 0.2-percent chance annual-exceedance probabilities for each of the 4 streamgages that correspond to the flood-inundation maps. The computed flood profiles were used in combination with digital elevation data to delineate flood-inundation areas. Maps of Licking County showing flood-inundation areas overlain on digital orthophotographs are presented for the selected floods.

The USGS also developed an unsteady-flow model for a reach of South Fork Licking River for use by the NWS to enhance their ability to provide advanced flood warning in the region north of Buckeye Lake, Ohio. The unsteady-flow model was calibrated based on data from four flooding events that occurred from June 2008 to December 2011. Model calibration was approximate due to the fact that there were unmeasured inflows to the river that were not able to be considered during the calibration. Information on unmeasured inflow derived from NWS hydrologic models and additional flood-event data could enable the NWS to further refine the unsteady-flow model.

First posted September 7, 2012

For additional information contact:
Director, Ohio, Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
6480 Doubletree Ave
Columbus, OH 43229–1111
(614) 430–7700 http://oh.water.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Ostheimer, C.J., 2012, Development of a flood-warning system and flood-inundation mapping in Licking County, Ohio: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5137, 13 p., available only at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2012/5137/.



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Installation of Streamgages and Upgrade of a Lake-level Gage

Rating Selection and Development

Hydraulic Modeling

Summary

Acknowledgments

References Cited


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