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Urban Flood Modelling under Extreme Rainfall Conditions for Building-Level Flood Exposure Analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Chris Iliadis, Dr Vassilis Glenis, Professor Chris Kilsby



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 by the authors. The expansion of urban areas and the increasing frequency and magnitude of intense rainfall events are anticipated to contribute to the widespread escalation of urban flood risk across the globe. To effectively mitigate future flood risks, it is crucial to combine a comprehensive examination of intense rainfall events in urban areas with the utilization of detailed hydrodynamic models. This study combines extreme value analysis techniques applied to rainfall data ranging from sub-hourly to daily durations with a high-resolution flood modelling analysis at the building level in the centre of Thessaloniki, Greece. A scaling procedure is employed to rainfall return levels assessed by applying the generalised extreme value (GEV) distribution to annual maximum fine-temporal-scale data, and these scaling laws are then applied to more reliable daily rainfall return levels estimated by means of the generalised Pareto distribution (GPD), in order to develop storm profiles with durations of 1 h and 2 h. The advanced flood model, CityCAT, is then used for the simulation of pluvial flooding, providing reliable assessments of building-level exposure to flooding hazards. The results of the analysis conducted provide insights into flood depths and water flowpaths in the city centre of Thessaloniki, identifying major flowpaths along certain main streets resulting in localised flooding, and identifying around 165 and 186 buildings highly exposed to inundation risk in the study area for 50-year storm events with durations of 1 h and 2 h, respectively. For the first time in this study area, a detailed analysis of extreme rainfall events is combined with a high-resolution Digital Terrain Model (DTM), used as an input into the advanced and fully featured CityCAT hydrodynamic model, to assess critical flowpaths and buildings at high flood risk. The results of this study can aid in the planning and design of resilient solutions to combat urban flash floods, as well as contribute to targeted flood damage mitigation and flood risk reduction.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Iliadis C, Galiatsatou P, Glenis V, Prinos P, Kilsby C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Hydrology

Year: 2023

Volume: 10

Issue: 8

Online publication date: 17/08/2023

Acceptance date: 14/08/2023

Date deposited: 12/09/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2306-5338

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/hydrology10080172


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