Hydrometeorology of Rocky Mountain floods



Climatology and flood hydrology of the Rocky Mountains were the topics of a workshop held in Lakewood, Colo., October 4–5, 1990. Ninety-one people participated in the workshop, which was organized by Robert Jarrett, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver; John Liou, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Denver; and Doug Laiho, Delta Environmental Consultants, Boulder, representing the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The workshop was held to address some of the recognized complexities in the hydrometeorology of floods in the Rocky Mountains. The complexities are caused by the effects of rough mountain terrain on meteorology, snowmelt and rainfall flooding, and limited rainfall and streamflow data. The current theories and methods used to estimate flood flows in the Rocky Mountains, particularly estimation of the probable maximum precipitation (PMP) and the probable maximum flood (PMF), have been questioned by hydrologists and engineers for some time. Purposes of the workshop were to review the current understanding and ongoing research of floods—both frequent and extreme, including the PMF, in the Rocky Mountains; to bring together scientists, engineers, and flood-plain managers in government, industry, consulting firms, and universities; and to provide a mechanism for the exchange of ideas and technology between climatologists, meteorologists, hydrologists, engineers, and managers.