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Social and Hydrological Responses to Extreme Precipitations: An Interdisciplinary Strategy for Postflood Investigation

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  • 1 * Laboratoire d'Etude des Transferts en Hydrologie et Environnement, CNRS/UJF, IRD, Grenoble, France
  • | 2 UMR PACTE/UJF, Grenoble, France
  • | 3 Department of Geography, University of Montpellier III, Montpellier, France
  • | 4 Department of Land and Agroforest Environment, University of Padova, Padua, Italy
  • | 5 Laboratory of Social Psychology, University of Nîmes, Nimes, France
  • | 6 ** UMR Espace, University of Avignon, Avignon, France
  • | 7 IFSTTAR, Nantes, France
  • | 8 University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Laboratoire d'Etude des Transferts en Hydrologie et Environnement, CNRS/UJF, IRD, Grenoble, France
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Abstract

This paper describes and illustrates a methodology to conduct postflood investigations based on interdisciplinary collaboration between social and physical scientists. The method, designed to explore the link between crisis behavioral response and hydrometeorological dynamics, aims at understanding the spatial and temporal capacities and constraints on human behaviors in fast-evolving hydrometeorological conditions. It builds on methods coming from both geosciences and transportations studies to complement existing postflood field investigation methodology used by hydrometeorologists. The authors propose an interview framework, structured around a chronological guideline to allow people who experienced the flood firsthand to tell the stories of the circumstances in which their activities were affected during the flash flood.

This paper applies the data collection method to the case of the 15 June 2010 flash flood event that killed 26 people in the Draguignan area (Var, France). As a first step, based on the collected narratives, an abductive approach allowed the identification of the possible factors influencing individual responses to flash floods. As a second step, behavioral responses were classified into categories of activities based on the respondents' narratives. Then, aspatial and temporal analysis of the sequences made of the categories of action to contextualize the set of coping responses with respect to local hydrometeorological conditions is proposed. During this event, the respondents mostly follow the pace of change in their local environmental conditions as the flash flood occurs, official flood anticipation being rather limited and based on a large-scale weather watch. Therefore, contextual factors appear as strongly influencing the individual's ability to cope with the event in such a situation.

Corresponding author address: Isabelle Ruin, LTHE, Bâtiment OSUG-B, Domaine Universitaire, B.P. 53, 38041 Grenoble CEDEX 09, France. E-mail: isabelle.ruin@ujf-grenoble.fr

Abstract

This paper describes and illustrates a methodology to conduct postflood investigations based on interdisciplinary collaboration between social and physical scientists. The method, designed to explore the link between crisis behavioral response and hydrometeorological dynamics, aims at understanding the spatial and temporal capacities and constraints on human behaviors in fast-evolving hydrometeorological conditions. It builds on methods coming from both geosciences and transportations studies to complement existing postflood field investigation methodology used by hydrometeorologists. The authors propose an interview framework, structured around a chronological guideline to allow people who experienced the flood firsthand to tell the stories of the circumstances in which their activities were affected during the flash flood.

This paper applies the data collection method to the case of the 15 June 2010 flash flood event that killed 26 people in the Draguignan area (Var, France). As a first step, based on the collected narratives, an abductive approach allowed the identification of the possible factors influencing individual responses to flash floods. As a second step, behavioral responses were classified into categories of activities based on the respondents' narratives. Then, aspatial and temporal analysis of the sequences made of the categories of action to contextualize the set of coping responses with respect to local hydrometeorological conditions is proposed. During this event, the respondents mostly follow the pace of change in their local environmental conditions as the flash flood occurs, official flood anticipation being rather limited and based on a large-scale weather watch. Therefore, contextual factors appear as strongly influencing the individual's ability to cope with the event in such a situation.

Corresponding author address: Isabelle Ruin, LTHE, Bâtiment OSUG-B, Domaine Universitaire, B.P. 53, 38041 Grenoble CEDEX 09, France. E-mail: isabelle.ruin@ujf-grenoble.fr
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