Magnitude and Frequency of Floods for Urban and Small Rural Streams in Georgia, 2008

Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5042
Prepared in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Transportation, Preconstruction Division, Office of Bridge Design
By:  and 



A study was conducted that updated methods for estimating the magnitude and frequency of floods in ungaged urban basins in Georgia that are not substantially affected by regulation or tidal fluctuations. Annual peak-flow data for urban streams from September 2008 were analyzed for 50 streamgaging stations (streamgages) in Georgia and 6 streamgages on adjacent urban streams in Florida and South Carolina having 10 or more years of data. Flood-frequency estimates were computed for the 56 urban streamgages by fitting logarithms of annual peak flows for each streamgage to a Pearson Type III distribution. Additionally, basin characteristics for the streamgages were computed by using a geographical information system and computer algorithms. Regional regression analysis, using generalized least-squares regression, was used to develop a set of equations for estimating flows with 50-, 20-, 10-, 4-, 2-, 1-, 0.5-, and 0.2-percent annual exceedance probabilities for ungaged urban basins in Georgia. In addition to the 56 urban streamgages, 171 rural streamgages were included in the regression analysis to maintain continuity between flood estimates for urban and rural basins as the basin characteristics pertaining to urbanization approach zero. Because 21 of the rural streamgages have drainage areas less than 1 square mile, the set of equations developed for this study can also be used for estimating small ungaged rural streams in Georgia. Flood-frequency estimates and basin characteristics for 227 streamgages were combined to form the final database used in the regional regression analysis. Four hydrologic regions were developed for Georgia. The final equations are functions of drainage area and percentage of impervious area for three of the regions and drainage area, percentage of developed land, and mean basin slope for the fourth region. Average standard errors of prediction for these regression equations range from 20.0 to 74.5 percent.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Magnitude and Frequency of Floods for Urban and Small Rural Streams in Georgia, 2008
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2011-5042
DOI 10.3133/sir20115042
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description v, 39 p. ; spreadsheet
Country United States
State Georgia
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details