Applying Mechanistic Dam Breach Models to Historic Levee Breaches
1 US Army Corps of Engineers, Risk Management Center, Davis, California, USA
2 US Army Corps of Engineers, Hydrologic Engineering Center, Davis, California, USA
a Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hurricane Katrina elevated levee risk in the US national consciousness, motivating agencies to assess and improve their levee risk assessment methodology. Accurate computation of the flood flow magnitude and timing associated with a levee breach remains one of the most difficult and uncertain components of levee risk analysis. Contemporary methods are largely empirical and approximate, introducing substantial uncertainty to the damage and life loss models. Levee breach progressions are often extrapolated to the final width and breach formation time based on limited experience with past breaches or using regression equations developed from a limited data base of dam failures. Physically based embankment erosion models could improve levee breach modeling. However, while several mechanistic embankment breach models are available, they were developed for dams. Several aspects of the levee breach problem are distinct, departing from dam breach assumptions. This study applies three embankments models developed for dam breach analysis (DL Breach, HR BREACH, and WinDAM C) to historic levee breaches with observed (or inferred) breach rates, assessing the limitations, and applicability of each model to the levee breach problem.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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