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Scientific Investigations Map 3251

Prepared in cooperation with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs

Flood-Inundation Maps for the White River at Spencer, Indiana

By Elizabeth A. Nystrom

Thumbnail of report PDF (3.06 MB )


Digital flood-inundation maps for a 5.3-mile reach of the White River at Spencer, Indiana, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The inundation maps, which can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Science Web site at, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgage White River at Spencer, Indiana (sta. no. 03357000). Current conditions for estimating near-real-time areas of inundation using USGS streamgage information may be obtained on the Internet at National Weather Service (NWS)-forecasted peak-stage inforamation may be used in conjunction with the maps developed in this study to show predicted areas of flood inundation.

In this study, flood profiles were computed for the stream reach by means of a one-dimensional step-backwater model. The model was calibrated by using the most current stage-discharge relation at the White River at Spencer, Indiana, streamgage and documented high-water marks from the flood of June 8, 2008. The hydraulic model was then used to compute 20 water-surface profiles for flood stages at 1-foot intervals referenced to the streamgage datum and ranging from the NWS action stage (9 feet) to the highest rated stage (28 feet) at the streamgage. The simulated water-surface profiles were then combined with a geographic information system digital elevation model (derived from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data) in order to delineate the area flooded at each water level.

The availability of these maps along with Internet information regarding the current stage from the Spencer USGS streamgage and forecasted stream stages from the NWS will provide emergency management personnel and residents with information that is critical for flood response activities, such as evacuations and road closures, as well as for post-flood recovery efforts.

First posted March 25, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, Indiana Water Science Center
5957 Lakeside Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46278
Telephone: (317) 290–3333
Fax: (317) 290–3313

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Nystrom, E.A, 2013, Flood-inundation maps for the White River at Spencer, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3251, 20 sheets, 8-p. pamphlet, available at





Constructing Water-Surface Profiles

Inundation Mapping


References Cited

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