Misapplication of the FEMA Alluvial Fan Model: A Case History

by Jonathan E. Fuller, Pima County Flood Control Dist, Tucson, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulics/Hydrology of Arid Lands (H²AL)


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently issued revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for the Tortolita piedmont, located northwest of Tucson, Arizona. Floodplain delineations shown on the revised FIRM are based on FEMA's alluvial fan methodology. Floodplain management of the piedmont using the revised FIRM is hampered by the flawed theoretical basis of the model, by technical deficiencies in the application of the FEMA alluvial fan model to the Tortolita area, as well as by shortcomings in the flood zone designations used on the FIRM.

Subject Headings: Case studies | Alluvial channels | Federal government | Floods | Finite element method | Model accuracy | Hydrologic models | Insurance | Arizona | United States

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