Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Research article
11 Jan 2012
Research article |  | 11 Jan 2012

Efficient dam break flood simulation methods for developing a preliminary evacuation plan after the Wenchuan Earthquake

Y. Li, J. H. Gong, J. Zhu, L. Ye, Y. Q. Song, and Y. J. Yue

Abstract. The Xiaojiaqiao barrier lake, which was the second largest barrier lake formed by the Wenchuan Earthquake had seriously threatened the lives and property of the population downstream. The lake was finally dredged successfully on 7 June 2008. Because of the limited time available to conduct an inundation potential analysis and make an evacuation plan, barrier lake information extraction and real-time dam break flood simulation should be carried out quickly, integrating remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) techniques with hydrologic/hydraulic analysis. In this paper, a technical framework and several key techniques for this real-time preliminary evacuation planning are introduced. An object-oriented method was used to extract hydrological information on the barrier lake from unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing images. The real-time flood routine was calculated by using shallow-water equations, which were solved by means of a finite volume scheme on multiblock structured grids. The results of the hydraulic computations are visualized and analyzed in a 3-D geographic information system for inundation potential analysis, and an emergency response plan is made. The results show that if either a full-break or a half-break situation had occurred for the Chapinghe barrier lake on 19 May 2008, then the Xiaoba Town region and the Sangzao Town region would have been affected, but the downstream towns would have been less influenced. Preliminary evacuation plans under different dam break situations can be effectively made using these methods.