Authors: Daniel Dykes, Ben Brigida, Taylor Hotchkiss, Lauren Makely
Mentors/Advisers (affiliation): Dr. Kenton Ross, Jamie Favors, Jason Jones (DEVELOP National Program)
Team Location: Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Chicago, Illinois
Abstract: During the extreme precipitation events in the summer of 2012, flash floods inundated Duluth, Minnesota, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, with more than 7 inches of water. The soils were already saturated by weeks of rainfall prior to the event. Stormwater and sewage treatment plants were overwhelmed and forced to shut down after their pumps failed. Water backed up into citizen’s homes, flooded roadways, created hazardous sinkholes, and caused both cities to enter into a state of emergency. The damage toll was more than $100 million (U.S.) for each area. To assist with future flood mitigation planning, we used Hazards US (HAZUS) and local data to model the possibility of similar flood events in the Great Lakes. We also integrated Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) data into the analysis to illustrate the magnitude of the precipitation event. Additionally, using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2 (RUSLE2) equation, we examined the soil loss resulting from these flooding events and mapped potential future erosion risk. Given the potential that climate change may increase the frequency and magnitude of severe flood events, we hope that our results will aid in planning more effective mitigation measures.