Articles | Volume 12, issue 5
Research article
07 May 2012
Research article |  | 07 May 2012

Flash floods and debris flow in the city area of Messina, north-east part of Sicily, Italy in October 2009: the case of the Giampilieri catchment

G. T. Aronica, G. Brigandí, and N. Morey

Abstract. This paper concerns the analysis of the 1 October 2009 flash flood and debris flow event caused by a very intense rainfall concentrated over the Messina area. The storm caused severe flash floods in many villages around the city of Messina, such as Giampilieri, Scaletta Zanclea, Altolia Superiore and Molino, with 38 casualties and significant damages to property, buildings, roads and bridges estimated close to 550 million Euro. The main focus of this work is to perform a post event analysis, putting together available meteorological and hydrological data in order to get better insight into temporal and spatial variability of the rain storm, the soil moisture conditions and the consequent flash flood in the Giampilieri catchment. The event was investigated using observed data from a raingauge network. Statistical analysis using GEV distribution was performed and rainfall return period (storm severity) was estimated. Further, measured rainfall data and rainfall-runoff modelling were used to estimate soil moisture conditions, to analyse the hydrological behaviour and to reconstruct flood hydrograph. With the help of GIS technology and particularly spatial analysis, the volume of debris which has gone down into the Giampilieri village was also calculated. GIS maps with landslide and material deposit areas were produced and analysed.