Reconstruction of the 1974 flash flood in Sóller (Mallorca) using a hydraulic 1D/2D model

Carys Thomas, Ioanna Stamataki, Joan Rosselló-Geli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Flash flood events are common in the Mediterranean basin, because of a combination of rugged coastal topography and climatological characteristics. The Balearic Islands are a flood-prone region with the research area, Sóller (Mallorca) being no exception. Between 1900 and 2000, Sóller experienced 48 flash floods with 17 categorised as catastrophic. In Sóller, the local surface water network comprises ephemeral streams. These are natural water networks that only carry water during periods of intense rainfall. Using the available evidence from the 1974 flash flood, this research used Flood Modeller to simulate the event. The research developed a one-dimensional (1D) and a one-dimensional two-dimensional (1D-2D) model that assisted in the understanding of the behaviour of the ephemeral stream during the flood. Analysis of hydraulic parameters such as water flow, depth and velocity provided an appreciation of the interaction between the channel and floodplain. Model development aims to forecast the impending impacts of climate change and urbanisation. The results suggest that the characteristics of Sóller's catchment area naturally encourage flash flooding and hence can be deemed a flashy catchment. The model demonstrates that the interaction between the channel and floodplain relies heavily on surface roughness of both areas. The model proves that if flood intensity increases with climate change, the extent of flooding and consequently the damage will become more severe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-63
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics
Issue number1
Early online date4 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2023


  • Documentary sources
  • Flash floods
  • Historical flood reconstruction
  • Hydraulic model
  • Hydrograph
  • Mallorca

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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