Prediction of Urban Flooding Risks Using High-resolution Modeling and Hybrid Rainfall Data

Hao Luo, Scott M. Collis, Irene A. Crisologo, Daniel E. Horton, Aaron Packman, Marcelo H. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Flooding is one of the deadliest and costliest forms of disaster in the US, and escalating climate change and rapid growth of cities are exacerbating it. Data about flood risks could help cities make flood-producing events more manageable and less detrimental. Current flood maps and forecasting techniques are limited in accounting for pluvial flooding directly caused by extreme rainfall in urban settings. Moreover, designing infrastructure towards a flood-resilient city requires planning more comprehensively as the entire urban landscape interconnects and should be considered as an integrated system. This study adopted a previously developed modeling package for the integrated drainage system across the City of Chicago, which coupled the rain-runoff processes at the fine-scale urban catchments with an average size of 5.37x104 m2 with a finite difference-based hydrodynamic model to solve the transient flows captured and conveyed in the sewer systems. Distinct from previous studies focusing on the methodological validation on a subset of the system, this study examined the masterplan to best account for its interconnected nature with the fewest assumptions of inflow boundary conditions. City-wide flooding vulnerabilities were firstly assessed diagnostically via model simulations of preselected synthetic storms constructed on regional precipitation characteristics. Further, a reanalysis of a recorded flood-producing event on April 17-19, 2013, was performed using rainfall data processed from a rain gauge network and a single WSR-88D dual-polarimetric weather radar. The diverse rainfall products were further input to drive the system response considering storage capacities with and without the inclusion of Chicago’s deep tunnel system as a mitigation measure. Refined predictions of city-wide flooding were mapped in peak flood depths and durations, typical resilience indicators of infrastructure systems forflooding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7055-7065
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the IAHR World Congress
StatePublished - 2022
Event39th IAHR World Congress, 2022 - Granada, Spain
Duration: Jun 19 2022Jun 24 2022


  • Extreme events
  • Flood modeling and mapping
  • Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling
  • Urban drainage system
  • Urban flooding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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