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Flooding is the most common and damaging natural hazard faced by civilization, and flooding threats are likely to increase given current climate change predictions that suggest more intense hurricanes and precipitation. The latter has been recently experienced in the Mexican state of Guerrero, during the severe flood of September 2013. During this event, the heavy rainfall registered in 2 days (~700 mm) produced extreme river discharges that produced significant fluvial impacts and flooding in large areas of the city of Acapulco, causing severe damages and social disruption. In order to study the causes of this disaster, an integrated methodology to estimate flood risk is utilised. Uncertainties in the results are taken into account through the implementation of a cascade modelling approach, comprised by meteorological, hydrological and hydrodynamic models. These numerical tools are set up with field measurements (e.g. precipitation and bathymetry), and elevation data from a LiDAR-based DEM, enabling the representation and reconstruction of the whole event (from the cloud to the river). This approach allows the assessment of the interaction of natural flows with urban infrastructure and planning in this region. It is shown land use changes may have significantly influenced the extreme flood impacts registered during this event, implying a sensitivity of the region to spatial planning. On the other hand, the estimated return periods of precipitation indicate that the rainfall may be associated to a return period of 100-200 years. Results highlight the need of integration between land-use issues and water issues to achieve a more sustainable and viable management of land and water. The cascade modelling approach may be applied to other areas and can be extended to consider the effect of future climate change.


Session R35, Modeling of Urban Flooding I



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