Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2007


Published in GREAT PLAINS RESEARCH 17:1 pages 3-16 (Spring 2007). Copyright © 2007 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


The October 1998 flood on the upper Guadalupe River system was produced by a 24-hour precipitation amount of 483 mm at one station, over 380 mm at several other stations, and up to 590 mm over five days, precipitation amounts greater than the 100-year storm as prescribed in Weather Bureau Technical Papers 40 (1961) and 49 (1964). This study uses slope-area discharge estimates and published discharge and precipitation data to analyze flow characteristics of the three major branches of the Guadalupe River on the Edwards Plateau. The main channel of the Guadalupe has a single large flood-control structure at Canyon Dam and five flood dams on the tributary Comal River. On the upper San Marcos River there are five detention dams that regulate 80% of its drainage. The Blanco River, which has no structural controls, generated a peak discharge of 2,970 m3/s from a 1,067 km2 basin. Downstream of Canyon Dam, the Guadalupe River generated a peak discharge greater than 3,000 m3/s from an area of 223 km2. The event exceeded the capacity of both the Comal River and San Marcos flood-control projects and produced spills that inundated areas greater than the 100-year floodplain defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.