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A Modified Flood Severity Assessment for Enhanced Decision Support: Application to the Boscastle Flash Flood of 2004

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  • 1 School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
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Abstract

A modified flash flood severity assessment is presented, based on scoring a set of factors according to their potential for generating extreme catchment-scale flooding. Improvements are made to the index through incorporation of parameter uncertainties, managing data absence, and clearer graphical communication. The motive for proposing these changes is to better inform flood managers during the development of a flash flood that may require an emergency response. This modified decision-support system is demonstrated for the Boscastle flood of 2004 and other historical floods in the United Kingdom. For Boscastle, the extreme nature of the flood is underestimated, which is likely to be due to the lack of sophistication in weighting flood parameters. However, the proposed amendments are able to rapidly reflect the reliability of a catchment severity rating, which may further enhance this technique as a decision-support tool alongside radar observations of localized storms.

Corresponding author address: S. J. Murray, School of Earth Sciences, Wills Memorial Bldg., University of Bristol, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom. E-mail: steve.murray@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

A modified flash flood severity assessment is presented, based on scoring a set of factors according to their potential for generating extreme catchment-scale flooding. Improvements are made to the index through incorporation of parameter uncertainties, managing data absence, and clearer graphical communication. The motive for proposing these changes is to better inform flood managers during the development of a flash flood that may require an emergency response. This modified decision-support system is demonstrated for the Boscastle flood of 2004 and other historical floods in the United Kingdom. For Boscastle, the extreme nature of the flood is underestimated, which is likely to be due to the lack of sophistication in weighting flood parameters. However, the proposed amendments are able to rapidly reflect the reliability of a catchment severity rating, which may further enhance this technique as a decision-support tool alongside radar observations of localized storms.

Corresponding author address: S. J. Murray, School of Earth Sciences, Wills Memorial Bldg., University of Bristol, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom. E-mail: steve.murray@bristol.ac.uk
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