Using A GIS to Analyze OKC Flash Flooding on June 14, 2010

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Darrian M. Noyes, Oklahoma Mesonet, Norman, OK; and A. N. Sebree

On June 14, 2010, a historic flash flooding event impacted Oklahoma City and its surrounding areas. This event caused 136 injuries and 1 fatality, while 56 Oklahoma counties activated a state of emergency. Many neighborhoods were engulfed in flood waters, forcing emergency personnel to rescue victims by boat. This study focuses on the Oklahoma City flooding in order to determine if there is a correlation between elevation and the most flooded areas in the urban region for this case, using a Geographic Information System (GIS). It was useful to analyze this study using ArcGIS software so that a raster elevation data set could be easily compared to an interpolation of a rainfall point analysis. The data used in this project were gathered from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and OK Maps, provided by the Oklahoma Office of Geographic Information (OGI). Using ArcMap 10.1, the four Mesonet stations located in Oklahoma County were analyzed in order to display the areas affected by flooding. Two forms of rainfall interpolation, IDW and cokriging, were used in ArcMap 10.1 in order to display a rainfall gradient across the impacted area. Cokriging allows elevation data to be overlayed with rainfall data, providing a more in depth analysis. Oklahoma Mesonet rainfall data revealed that within 19 hours since initial rainfall in Oklahoma City, 11.07 inches of rain was recorded at the North Oklahoma City Mesonet station, east of Lake Hefner. GIS is a tool that broadens the comprehensive understanding of rainfall events, in which other parameters such as elevation can be overlayed. When geographical factors are viewed alongside meteorological ones, a more complete evaluation of the event is obtainable.