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Precipitation Thresholds for Triggering Floods in the Corgo Basin, Portugal

Santos, Mónica, Fragoso, Marcelo
Water 2016 v.8 no.9
basins, databases, disasters, floods, hydrometeorology, probability, Portugal
Thresholds based on critical combinations of amount/duration of precipitation and flood events were estimated for the Corgo hydrographic basin, in northern Portugal. Thirty-one flood events in the Corgo basin were identified between 1865 and 2011 from a database of hydrometeorological disasters in Portugal. The minimum, maximum, and pre-warning thresholds that define the boundaries for flood occurrence were determined. The results show that the ratio between the total number of floods and precipitation events exceeding the minimum threshold denotes a relatively low probability of successful forecasting. This result may be due to the reduced number of flooding events in the floods database, which only include floods that caused damage as reported by the media. The estimated maximum threshold is not adequate for use in floods, since the majority of true positives are below this limit. However, and more interestingly, the retrospective verification of the estimated thresholds suggests that the minimum and pre-warning thresholds are well adjusted. Therefore, the application of these precipitation thresholds may contribute to minimize possible situations of pre-crisis or immediate crisis by reducing the flood consequences and the resources involved in emergency response to flood events.