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Open-File Report 02-255

Flood-Inundation Maps for La Lima, Honduras

Prepared in cooperation with the

By M.C. Mastin and T.D. Olsen


After the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, maps of the areas and depths of the 50-year-flood inundation at 15 municipalities in Honduras were prepared as a tool for agencies involved in reconstruction and planning. This report, which is one in a series of 15, presents maps of areas in the municipality of La Lima that would be inundated by Río Chamelecón with a discharge of 500 cubic meters per second, the approximate capacity of the river channel through the city of La Lima. The 50-year flood (2,400 cubic meters per second), the original design flow to be mapped, would inundate the entire area surveyed for this municipality. Because water-surface elevations of the 50-year flood could not be mapped properly without substantially expanding the area of the survey, the available data were used instead to estimate the channel capacity of Río Chamelecón in La Lima by trial-and-error runs of different flows in a numerical model and to estimate the increase in height of levees needed to contain flows of 1,000 and 2,400 cubic meters per second. Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages of the flood inundation are available on a computer in the municipality of La Lima as part of the Municipal GIS project and on the Internet at the Flood Hazard Mapping Web page ( These coverages allow users to view the flood inundation in much more detail than is possible using the maps in this report.

Water-surface elevations for various discharges on Río Chamelecón at La Lima were determined using HEC-RAS, a one-dimensional, steady-flow, step-backwater computer program. The channel and floodplain cross sections used in HEC-RAS were developed from an airborne light-detection-and-ranging (LIDAR) topographic survey of the area and ground surveys at three bridges. Top-of-levee or top-of-channel-bank elevations and locations at the cross sections were critical to estimating the channel capacity of Río Chamelecón. These elevations and locations are provided along with the water-surface elevations for the 500-cubic-meter-per-second flow of Río Chamelecón. Also, water-surface elevations of the 1,000 and 2,400 cubic-meter-per-second flows are provided, assuming that the existing levees are raised to contained the flows.


Description of Study Area
Water-Surface Profiles
Flood-Inundation Maps
Data Availability
References Cited

This report and associated figures are available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Download the report (PDF, 603 KB)

Select 11x17 high resolution versions of Figure 1 (PDF, 4.7 MB)
and Figure 2 (PDF, 696 KB) to view or print.

Geographic Information System coverages of flood inundation and flood depth are available at

Document Accessibility: Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools convert Adobe PDF documents into HTML or ASCII text, which then can be read by a number of common screen-reading programs that synthesize text as audible speech. In addition, an accessible version of Acrobat Reader 5.0 for Windows (English only), which contains support for screen readers, is available. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.

Send questions or comments about this report to the author, Mark Mastin ( 253.428.3600 ext. 2609.

For more information about USGS activities in Washington, visit the USGS Washington District home page.

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