Question regarding measuring scales for natural disasters

Hi,

I’ve been able to find scales for measuring most common natural disasters but none for flooding. In the case of avalanches, I found Avalanche Size Classification Scheme/SLF (European Avalanche Danger Scale), but I’m not sure whether there is an international scale for measuring avalanche intensity. So I would like to confirm that point and find out if there is any scale for measuring flood. I look forward to your feedback.

Height of water … as in “such and such river is 2 feet over flood stage”.

Current “flood” measurement in USA

Defined by NOAA

One interesting one is 100-year_flood and similar n-year flood nomenclature.

A 10-year flood is somewhat worse than average. A 500-year flood is quite bad.

In any case, for a lot of natural disasters lives lost and dollar cost are the two most disaster monitoring agencies track.

When the area of devastation is large in enough it gets measured in Rhode Islands.

The high water mark in the Columbia River Gorge is still plainly visible from a flood during the late Pleistocene … 800 feet over flood stage.

Thanks watchwolf49. So floods are measures in flood stages. What about using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to measure flooding? Most of the links below seem to suggest that.
http://www.funtrivia.com/en/SciTech/Miscellaneous-Science/Question2730962_C390C6.html

Wind pressure is measured by the Beaufort scale. There is no scale to measure floods and a fathometer is used to measure the underground water level or water table by using sound.
http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/general/lib/laescae.html

“Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale”
“This can be used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast with a hurricane.”

http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/pages/saffir_simpson.php
“Thus, to help reduce public confusion about the impacts associated with the various hurricane categories, as well as to provide a more scientifically defensible scale, the storm surge ranges, flooding impact and central pressure statements are being removed from the scale and only peak winds are employed in this revised version - the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale”

http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hazard_mitigation/section_3f_coastal_storm_hazard_analysis.pdf
The NWS uses the Saffir-Simpson Scale to classify hurricane severity. The scale categorizes a hurricane’s present intensity on a one to five rating and provides an estimate of property damage and coastal flooding upon landfall. Wind speed determines a hurricane’s Saffir-Simpson Scale rating since storm surge is greatly dependent on the coastline shape and slope of the continental shelf.

The NWS uses the Saffir-Simpson Scale to classify hurricane severity. The scale categorizes a hurricane’s present intensity on a one to five rating and provides an estimate of property damage and coastal flooding upon landfall. Wind speed determines a hurricane’s Saffir-Simpson Scale rating since storm surge is greatly dependent on the coastline shape and slope of the continental shelf.

How would you use a wind scale to measure flooding? The one and only measure that makes sense for flooding is how high the water is.

**David **you misunderstand. The Saffir-Simpson scale is wind only. Nothing more. Not rain, not flooding, not damage. Just wind.

In the Olde Dayes before Saffir-Simpson the NWS tried to invent an overall hurricane severity scale that mixed rain, wind, and flood into one combined how-bad-is-it index. It worked like crap and they’ve abandoned that idea.

The tidbits you posted were them explaining going *away *from trying to combine rain, wind, & flooding into a single number.

Late add:

This is what they actually do do:

River & rainfall-based flooding is measured by gages and described as feet above flood stage. There is also a qualitative scale of no flood, near flood, minor flood, moderate flood and major flood. This will get you started on understanding that: http://water.weather.gov/ahps/

Coastal flooding is a completely different phenomenon with a completely different means to forecast & report. That’s a combo of tides and storm surge during hurricanes. These two blog posts will get you started understanding how they predict & inform the public of their predictions



Naturally these two types of flood prediction & reporting come together where large river flows empty into the sea and/or high seas back up into rivers.

Thanks LSL Guy for clearing that up. Very helpful. Thank you all.

I agree with the other posters about the Saffir-Simpson scale. What caught my eye was the comment about using a fathometer to measure the water table.

Absolutely not the case. a fathometer is capable of measuring water depth in water only. It can’t work to measure underground water levels or water tables. That one is easy.

What surprised me was the amol link provided. NOAA/AOML is a major research center for meteorological studies. They tend to understand such things (heck they define such things). And the link clearly describes flooding estimates tied simply to the Saffir-Simpson scale. Something I have never heard of. Note the estimates are reasonably well qualified and make good sense. I have never heard of flooding estimates tied to the hurricane scale before. But the AOML connection gives it a lot of weight.
I don’t believe it is practical though, the locations where the exact conditions used in the the link exist are pretty rare. But apparently the link does exist. Learned something new today.