Role in Flood Prediction

Flowchart of steps in the flood prediction process

The main reason for studying the runoff process is to get an estimate of the amount of water that makes its way quickly to the stream channel. Runoff is the most important component of flood prediction and can consist of either rainwater or water from melting ice and snow. Watershed conditions will impact the proportion of rain or snow that becomes runoff. Once we know the amount of water expected to become runoff, other tools such as the unit hydrograph can assist us with estimating the resulting discharge in the stream.