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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-304
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-304
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 15 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 15 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Hydrogeomorphological analysis and modelling for a comprehensive understanding of flash-flood damaging processes: The 9th October 2018 event in North-eastern Mallorca

Joan Estrany1,2, Maurici Ruiz-Pérez1,2,3, Raphael Mutzner4, Josep Fortesa1,2, Beatriz Nácher-Rodríguez5, Miquel Tomàs-Burguera6, Julián García-Comendador1,2, Xavier Peña4, Adolfo Calvo-Cases7, and Francisco J. Vallés-Morán5 Joan Estrany et al.
  • 1Mediterranean Ecogeomorphological and Hydrological Connectivity Research Team (http://medhycon.uib.cat), Department of Geography, University of the Balearic Islands, Carretera de Valldemossa Km 7.5, 07122 Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain
  • 2Institute of Agro-Environmental and Water Economy Research - INAGEA, University of the Balearic Islands, Carretera de Valldemossa Km 7.5, 07122, Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain
  • 3Service of GIS and Remote Sensing, University of the Balearic Islands, 07122 Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain
  • 4Hydrique Engineers (http://www.hydrique.ch), Le Mont sur Lausanne, Vaud 1052, Switzerland
  • 5Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Camf de Vera, s/n, Valencia, 46022, Spain
  • 6Estaci6n Experimental de Aula Dei (EEAD-CSIC), Avenida Montafiana, 1005, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
  • 7Inter-University Institute for Local Development (IIDL) Department of Geography, University of Valencia, Av. Blasco Ibafiez 28, 46010, Valencia, Spain

Abstract. A flash-flood event hit in the 9th October 2018 the northeastern part of Mallorca Island, causing 13 casualties. This island is prone to catastrophic flash floods acting on a scenario that illustrates the deep landscape transformation of Mediterranean tourist resorts. As global change may exacerbate devastating flash floods, comprehensive analyses of catastrophic events are crucial to support effective prevention and mitigation measures. Field-based, remote-sense and modelling techniques were used in this study to evaluate rainfall-runoff processes at catchment scale linked to hydrological modelling. Continuous streamflow monitoring data revealed a peak discharge 442 m3 s−1 with an unprecedented runoff response (lag time, 15’). This very flashy behaviour triggered the natural disaster as a combination of heavy rainfall (246 mm in 10 h), karstic features and land cover disturbances in the Begura de Saumà River catchment (i.e., 23 km2). Topography-based connectivity index and geomorphic change detection were used as a rapid post-catastrophe decision-making tool, playing a key role during the rescue searching tasks. These hydrogeomorphological precision techniques were also applied in combination with Copernicus EMS and ground-based damage assessment illustrating with high accuracy the damage driving factors in the village of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar. The main challenges in the future are to readapt hydrological modelling to global change scenarios, implement an early flash flood warning system and apply adaptive and resilient measures at catchment scale.

Joan Estrany et al.
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Status: open (until 18 Dec 2019)
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Short summary
A catastrophic flash-flood event hit in 2018 the northeastern part of Mallorca Island, causing 13 casualties and impacting on the international opinion in one of the most important tourist resorts. The analysis of the rainfall-runoff processes illustrated an unprecedented flashy behaviour in Europe triggering the natural disaster. UAVs and hydrogeomorphological precision techniques were used as a rapid post-catastrophe decision-making tool, playing a key role during the rescue searching tasks.
A catastrophic flash-flood event hit in 2018 the northeastern part of Mallorca Island, causing...
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