The Rivillas flood of 5-6 November 1997 (Badajoz, Spain) revisited: An approach based on Iber+ modelling

González-Cao J., Fernández-Nóvoa D., García-Feal, O., Figueira J.R., Vaquero J.M., Trigo R.M. and Gómez-Gesteira M.
Journal of Hydrology, 610, p.127883. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.127883

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The flash flood registered in November 1997 in the city of Badajoz (Spain) in the basin of Rivillas river is analysed by means of the numerical code Iber+. This event constitutes one of the most destructive flash-floods registered in an urban area in the Iberian Peninsula. Starting from precipitation data obtained from rain stations, the runoff of the entire river basin was simulated to obtain the discharge of the Rivillas river in Badajoz. The flood maps obtained with Iber+ reproduce accurately the field data registered during the actual event. Likewise, the numerical time evolution of the flood and water depths are in accordance with testimonies of the witnesses. Once the capability of Iber+ to reproduce the event was assessed, several scenarios were considered in order to analyse the main causes of the event. In particular, simulations show that the catastrophic magnitude of the flood was mainly due to the blockage of bridges. Different hypothetical scenarios were simulated to analyze the role of rain intensity and bridge maintenance, concluding that similar floods can occur under much lower rainfall but with poor bridge maintenance.