Certain areas of the midwestern United states are normally blessed
with sufficient quantities of water to adequately meet the needs of agriculture,
urban population centers, industry, recreation, navigation, and wildlife.
Within recent years, however, melt water from the winter snowpack and early
spring rains have combined to produce excessive volumes of runoff, causing
extensive flooding. This overabundance of water during the springs of 1965
and 1969 caused a combined total of more than $300 million in damage. The
monetary figure includes damage to urban areas, agricultural losses, and disruption
of transportation and communication networks as well as municipal,
lock and dam, and other unclassified losses. This figure can in no way indicate
the great personal anguish of the thousands of people who were driven from their
homes by rising flood waters.
Both in 1965 and in 1969, early warnings of the snowmelt floods greatly
reduced the amount of physical damage that occurred. These flood forecasts
allowed preparations to be made which substantially reduced losses. In 1969
Operation Foresight, a joint flood relief effort spearheaded by the Corps of
Engineers, reduced damages by more than $100 million at a cost of $15 million.
Accurate forecasts of floods are necessary not only to permit general
warnings to the public, but also to facilitate proper design of emergency dikes
and pumping stations, floodproofing, personnel evacuation, and proper operation
of existing flood control structures and navigation facilities.
Although emergency flood relief measures based on flood forecasts
greatly reduce flood damage, they are only a temporary solution to flood
problems. However, even with permanent flood control structures, accurate
foreoasts will oontinue to be needed for proper operation of reservoirs and
interior drainage facilities and for floodproofing and other operations.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of some of
the available oomprehensive mathematioal models with respect to their usefulness in predicting snowmelt and rainfall floods in the Upper Midwest.
Evaluation of Snowmelt Flood Forecasting Techniques for the Upper Midwest.
St. Anthony Falls Hydraulic Laboratory.
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