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USGS Washington Water Science Center

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Flood Frequencies

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Historic flood peaks in February 1996 and other floods in recent years underscore the need to update flood frequencies in Washington. Water managers need to know how frequently floods of various sizes can be expected in order to advise on measures to avoid potential destruction of property and lives. Typically, managers are most interested in large floods that may occur rarely but with enough frequency to be of real concern in the scale of human lifetimes.

In order to provide water managers, emergency planners, and others with this critical information, the USGS is updating estimates of the magnitude of specified flood flows associated with various frequencies of recurrence at selected gage sites, and updating the regression equations used to determine flood flows for ungaged sites. The new estimates incorporate streamflow data that have been collected since the publication of the earlier flood frequencies.

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