Effects of urbanization on the magnitude and frequency of floods on small streams in Tennessee

U.S. Geological Survey, Open File Report 82-242

by Clarence H. Robbins

This report is available as a pdf below


Engineers involved in bridge, culvert, and highway design often need to know the magnitude and frequency of discharge from small streams where the drainage basin is urbanized. To develop reliable methods for determining the frequency of floods on small streams in Tennessee where urbanization is a factor, considerable amounts of runoff data are needed. However, long-term runoff data from urban areas in Tennessee have not been collected except in large urban areas. To improve the reliability of estimating flood peaks in all urban areas of Tennessee, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Tennessee Department of Transportation began a program in July 1977 to collect concurrent rainfall-runoff data on streams draining less than about 25 square miles in urban areas with populations between 5,000 and 100,000. These rainfall-runoff data will be used to calibrate a U.S. Geological Survey Rainfall-Runoff Model to estimate synthetic urban flood data statewide.

Twenty-one data-collection sites have been instrumented across Tennessee (fig. 1). Each of the four hydrologic areas, as defined in the report "Technique for Estimating Magnitude and Frequency of Floods in Tennessee" (Randolph and Gamble, 19761, are represented.

This report summarizes data collected at the 21 sites from July 1977 to September 1983 and is the third and final basic data report to be released during this Statewide Urban Hydrology project. The data presented in this report updates and replaces data in Basic Data Report No. 2 (Robbins, 1982).

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