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Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5056

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture—Forest Service

Simulation of the June 11, 2010, Flood Along the Little Missouri River near Langley, Arkansas, Using a Hydrologic Model Coupled to a Hydraulic Model

By Drew A. Westerman and Brian R. Clark

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.96 MB)Abstract

A substantial flood event occurred on June 11, 2010, causing the Little Missouri River to flow over much of the adjacent land area, resulting in catastrophic damages. Twenty fatalities occurred and numerous automobiles, cabins, and recreational vehicles were destroyed within the U.S. Department of Agriculture—Forest Service Albert Pike Recreation Area, at a dispersed campsite area in the surrounding Ouachita National Forest lands, and at a nearby privately owned camp. The Little Missouri River streamgage near Langley, Arkansas, reached a record streamflow of 70,800 cubic feet per second and a stage (water level) of 23.5 feet at 5:30 a.m., with a 10-foot rise occurring in slightly more than 1 hour.

To better understand the flood event on June 11, 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture—Forest Service, developed a precipitation-runoff hydrologic model, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC–HMS), coupled with a one-dimensional unsteady-state hydraulic model, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center River Analysis System (HEC–RAS), to simulate precipitation runoff and streamflow characteristics along the Little Missouri River and at various tributaries within the 68-square mile watershed upstream from the Langley streamgage.

Within the proximity of two campgrounds, the Little Missouri River just downstream from the confluence of Brier Creek had a peak simulated streamflow of 49,300 cubic feet per second at 4:08 a.m.; the simulated streamflow stayed within 500 cubic feet per second of the peak for nearly 15 minutes. The simulated water surface increased an average of 0.5 feet every 5 minutes for a total of 2 hours, with a maximum rate of rise of 2 feet in 15 minutes. The Little Missouri River just downstream from the confluence of Brier Creek had a peak simulated water-surface elevation of 935.0 feet, a maximum water depth of 22.2 feet, and a maximum stream channel velocity of 12.6 feet per second at 4:15 a.m.

The results from the precipitation-runoff hydrologic model, the one-dimensional unsteady-state hydraulic model, and a separate two-dimensional model developed as part of a coincident study, each complement the other in terms of streamflow timing, water-surface elevations, and velocities propagated by the June 11, 2010, flood event. The simulated grids for water depth and stream velocity from each model were directly compared by subtracting the one-dimensional hydraulic model grid from the two-dimensional model grid. The absolute mean difference for the simulated water depth was 0.9 foot. Additionally, the absolute mean difference for the simulated stream velocity was 1.9 feet per second.

First posted November 14, 2013

For additional information, contact:
Director, Arkansas Water Science Center
401 Hardin Rd.
Little Rock, AR 72211-3528
http://ar.water.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Westerman, D.A., and Clark, B.R., 2013, Simulation of the June 11, 2010, flood along the Little Missouri River near Langley, Arkansas, using a hydrologic model coupled to a hydraulic model: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5056, 34 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2013/5056/.


Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Precipitation-Runoff Hydrologic Model Development and Calibration

Simulated Peak Streamflows and Timing

One-Dimensional Unsteady-State Hydraulic Model Development and Calibration

Simulated Water Depth, Rate of Rise, and Velocities

Sensitivity Analysis

Model Limitations and Model Comparison

Summary

References Cited

Appendix 1. High-Water Marks Used to Calibrate the One-Dimensional Hydraulic Model of the Little Missouri River Watershed, Arkansas


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