An Update on the Perceptions of Flood Hazards in Flash Flood Alley

Authors: Richard Earl*, Texas State University, Daria Andrievskikh , Texas State University, Christina W. Lopez, Texas State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Texas floods, flood hazards, hazard perception
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


San Marcos, TX and Texas State University are at the epicenter of Flash Flood Alley along the Balcones Escarpment. The region is noted for the extreme peak flood discharges from relatively small watersheds. In May 2015 the Blanco River (355 mi2) generated a peak discharge of 175,000 ft3/sec. Twice in 2015 and once in 2016 and in 2017 access to Texas State University was blocked by floods. The May and October 2015 floods did major damage to student residential areas. The purpose of our study was analyze students’ perceptions of the flood risk, how they were affected by the recent floods, and how they were warned of imminent floods. We constructed an 11-item questionnaire that was administered by interviewers in November 2015 (n = 120), November 2017 (n = 120), and November 2018 (n =120) and via e-mail during the summer of 2018 (n = 219). We analyzed the findings by descriptive statistics and open coding of responses to the “comments” question. Compared to the earlier studies we noticed a decrease in the number of persons who had experienced damage to their residences or other property and a decrease in the percentage of students, 47%, who considered the region as having a high flood risk compared to 65% in the earlier studies. Such results are consistent with studies that show a decline in hazard awareness over time after a damaging event. Of the 41% who received warnings, 66% received warnings via text/e-mail as compared to radio, telephone, or TV (15%).

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