Estimating Magnitude and Frequency of Peak Discharges for Rural, Unregulated, Streams in West Virginia

Water Resources-Investigations Report 00-4080

By Jeffrey B. Wiley, John T. Atkins, Jr., and Gary D. Tasker


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Multiple and simple least-squares regression models for the log10-transformed 100-year discharge with independent variables describing the basin characteristics (log10-transformed and untransformed) for 267 streamflow-gaging stations were evaluated, and the regression residuals were plotted as areal distributions that defined three regions of the State, designated East, North, and South. Exploratory data analysis procedures identified 31 gaging stations at which discharges are different than would be expected for West Virginia. Regional equations for the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year peak discharges were determined by generalized least-squares regression using data from 236 gaging stations. Log10-transformed drainage area was the most significant independent variable for all regions.

Equations developed in this study are applicable only to rural, unregulated, streams within the boundaries of West Virginia. The accuracy of estimating equations is quantified by measuring the average prediction error (from 27.7 to 44.7 percent) and equivalent years of record (from 1.6 to 20.0 years).




Description of study area

Physiographic provinces


Regional historical floods

Previous studies

Development of estimating equations

Peak discharge data

Basin characteristics data

Magnitude and frequency analysis

Data correlation

Regional regression analysis

Estimating procedure

Accuracy of flood-estimating equations

Limitations of flood-estimating equations


References cited

Appendix 1: Accuracy of estimating equations


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