Texas Floods : Sources, compiled by Peter Larsen, 2/2001, revised 4/2011

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Floods have had a major role in the history and development of Texas. This guide will introduce some of the major sources of Texas flood data and help locate these publications in the University of Texas Libraries. The resources included in our other water studies collection guides will also likely prove useful. Also, as this guide does not include journal articles, remember to check the major periodical indexes or databases.

Flooding is a very broad subject that affects many disciplines. If you need information about law, insurance, or policy, it would be best to consult specialized reference works about those topics for information they may contain on water law and policy. Ask for reference assistance at PCL or at law libraries. Similarly, specialized information and resources may be found in the Engineering and Life Sciences libraries. While the University of Texas Libraries is well integrated, each branch has specialties and you are encouraged to make use of the expertise of the staff at each branch.


There are several regional governmental or quasi-governmental agencies and research organizations that gather and publish data on water in Texas. A list of some of these organizations, and some general comments follow. Some of these materials will be in the Geology Library; consult the agency names as author or author index searches in the library catalog for a more complete list of publications and library locations that might be of interest.

Austin Geological Society. <http://www.austingeosoc.org/>

Bureau of Economic Geology. <http://www.beg.utexas.edu/>

Geological Circular (GC)
TN 24 T4 T38 [report number] Geology

Report of Investigations (RI)
QE 167 T42 [report number] Geology

Center for Research in Water Resources (CRWR), University of Texas at Austin. <http://www.crwr.utexas.edu/>

Technical Report
TD 201 T3 T492 Geology & Engineering

CRWR also publishes Water Resources Symposium issues. Some have a Texas emphasis.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). <http://www.fema.gov/index.shtm>

The Federal agency charged with helping people predict, prepare for, survive and recover from natural disasters, including floods. Of special interest is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Flood Hazard Mapping program, providing information on floodplain hazards to homebuyers, homeowners, and developers.

Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence Districts. <http://www.hgsubsidence.org/>

International Boundary and Water Commission United States and Mexico, United States Section

Publishes materials dealing primarily with Rio Grande border conflict negotiations and water resources in the Rio Grande basin.

Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). <http://www.lcra.org/>

Information on Colorado River watershed. Searching the site using "flood" produces some useful articles.

National Technical Information Service (NTIS). <http://www.ntis.gov/>

This index of all government-sponsored research is also useful to identify relevant materials. It is possible for you to order from NTIS microfiche of documents you will require for your research. Ask for assistance at the reference desk in any of the University of Texas Libraries ' branches.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). <http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/>

It is important to remember while searching this material that the organization names have changed several times. If the call number remains the same, the title is a continuation of the same serial.

Here is one line leading to TCEQ. (Also see: Predecessor Agency Flowchart.<http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/about/pre_agency_flow.html>)
Texas Board of Water Engineers (1913) --> Texas Water Commission (1962) --> Texas Water Rights Commission (1965) --> Texas Department of Water Resources (1977) --> Texas Natrual Resources Conservation Commission (1993) --> Texas Commision on Environmental Quality (2002).

The TCEQ (and its predecessor agencies) occasionally release limited publication (LP, RG, etc.) reports that are Not widely distributed. Two related to Texas floods are:

Water Commission Bulletin
GB 1025 T4 A35 [report number] Geology

Texas Water Development Board. <http://www.twdb.texas.gov/>

Search the on-line index with "floods" or "flooding" as keywords.

Texas Water Development Board Report
TD 224 T4 A333 [report number] Geology

Texas State Library and Archives Commission.<http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/>

Texas Water Resources Institute. Texas A&M University. <http://twri.tamu.edu/>

US Army Corps of Engineers. <http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx>

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). <http://www.usgs.gov/>

The USGS, particularly the Texas Water Science Center : Water Resources of Texas <http://tx.usgs.gov/>, is an important source of Texas water data.

The national USGS Water Resources Information site has a great deal of useful information as well, including:

USGS government document series that include materials about water and floods in Texas are:

Circulars (C)
QE 75 C5 [report number] Geology

Open File Reports (OFR)
Most since 1981 on microfiche, uncataloged, in the Geology Library. Paper copies of OFRs from the USGS Austin office cataloged as individual titles at the Geology Library.

Professional Papers (PP)
QE 75 P9 [paper number] Geology

Water Resources Investigations (WRI or WRIR)
GB 701 W375 [report number] Geology

Water Resources Data: Texas.
GB 1225 T4 A44 [year] [volume] Geology Library
--materials are arranged by river basin and gauging station. WRD reports for other states are available in PCL Documents Dept.

Water Supply Papers (WSP)
TC 801 U2 [report number] Geology

The USGS has published a great deal of material over the years that either stands alone or exists in series that are no longer tracked. A few examples:

Note on searching for United States Geological Survey (USGS) publications:
The Geology Library is the primary repository for USGS publications in the University of Texas Libraries . However, it is important to remember that the vast majority of the thousands of USGS publications available in the Geology Library are in several major series and are not listed by individual author and title. Our United States Geological Survey (USGS) Publication Guide <http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/geo/fieldguides/usgspubguide.html> may be helpful.

One guide of special interest for historical water information is:

Some USGS publications are also available in other libraries, such as Engineering and Perry Castañeda Library.

National Weather Service River Forecast Center : West Gulf RFC. <http://www.srh.noaa.gov/wgrfc/>

Graduate Research:

The Walter Geology Library maintains a collection of theses written in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Consult the Theses and Dissertations for the Geological Sciences : 1897 - Present <http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/geo/thesis_dissertations/index.html> for subject indexing of these theses. Search the library catalog <http://catalog.lib.utexas.edu/> or the UT Digital Repository <http://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/> to find UT Austin theses and dissertations from other departments.

The following are shelved alphabetically by author's last name in the Theses and Dissertation shelves

Theses and dissertations from schools other than UT Austin will not usually be available in the University of Texas Libraries, but a quick check of the author or title in the library catalog will reveal if a copy is locally available. If you find a thesis from a school other than UT Austin referenced in Dissertations and Theses: Full Text <http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=114> or on GeoRef <http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=158>, and no copy is available locally, you must request an interlibrary loan of the item or purchase a copy from ProQuest UMI Dissertation Publishing <http://www.umi.com/en-US/products/dissertations/>. This process does take time, so it is important to get an early start on such requests.


Austin, Texas, flood of May 24-25, 1981. 1982. Committee on Natural Disasters, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council.
TC 424 A88 Geology

Baker, Victor R., Keith Young, and E.L. Garner. Field Trip: urban flooding and slope stability in Austin, Texas. Austin Geological Society Guidebook 1. 1973.

GB 1225 T4 A88 Geology

Baker, Victor R., R. Craig Kochel, and Peter C. Patton. Flood Geomorphology. 1988.
GB 1399 F55 1987 Geology

Burnett, Jonathan. Flash Floods in Texas. 2008.
GB 1399.4 T4 B87 2008 Geology

Office of Nuclear Waste Isolation. Flooding studies of proposed repository locations in the Palo Duro Basin of the Texas Panhandle. BMI/ONWI-574.1985
GB 1399.4 I4 F466 1985 Geology

Sansom, Andrew; with Emily R. Armitano and Tom Wassenich. Water in Texas: an introduction. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.
TD 224 T4 S26 2008 Geology

Smith, Ken and Roy Ward. Floods: physical processes and human impacts. 1998.
GB 1399 S63 1998 Geology

State of Texas Reclamation Department Bulletin 25. Excessive rainfall in Texas. 1941
TC 977 T4 A3 Geology

UNESCO. World catalogue of very large floods. 1976.
GB 1399 W67 Geology
This Unesco publication has a section on the United States (p.373-423).

U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service. Special storm report Chambers Creek watershed: tributary of the Trinity River watershed: storm of April 20-May 2, 1966. 1966.
GB 1399.4 T4 S643 1966 Geology

Ward, Roy. Floods: a geographical perspective. 1978.
GB 1399 W37 1978 Geology

White, Gilber F. Flood hazards in the United States: a research assessment. 1975.
GB 1215 W472 Geology and Engineering


To search for journal articles and technical reports on Texas floods, you should consult the tools on the University of Texas Libraries Databases <http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/index.php> page. Note: Most of these resources are licensed for use by UT students and employees only. A few of these tools are:

Agricola. <http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=12> National Agriculture Library Database. Contains information dealing with farming and related disciplines.

Ei Compendex. <http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=125> This is the second most comprehensive index of the earth sciences. The focus is on engineering and petroleum geology but with an increasing emphasis on water-related topics.

GeoRef. <http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=158> The primary source for current research in the earth sciences. Its printed equivalent, the Bibliography and Index of Geology, is available on the Geology Reference Table One.

Handbook of Texas Online. <http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook> An excellent source of Texas-specific information. Search using "flood."

Lexis-Nexis. < http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=224> Newspaper and magazine coverage. UT provides access to the Academic Universe package.

PAIS International. < http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/indexes/titles.php?id=277> English-language bibliographic index with abstracts covering political, social, and public policy. Entries are drawn from English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish Sources worldwide.


These general climate and meteorology materials will aid understanding of the weather events that cause floods.

Climates of the States, Volume II - Western States. 1974.
QC 983 A521 V.2 Geology Reference and Engineering

Climates of Texas Counties. 1987.
QC 984 T4 C54 1987 Geology Reference, Engineering Reference, PCL Reference, and Public Affairs

Frederick, Ralph H., Vance A. Myers, and Eugene P. Auciello. Five- to 60- minute precipitation frequency for the eastern and central United States. 1977.
QC 925.1 U424 Geology and Engineering

Probable maximum precipitation estimates - United States between the Continental Divide and the 103rd Meridian. 1988.
QC 925.1 U586 No.55A TEXT Geology and Engineering

World Survey of Climatology, Volume 11 - Climates of North America. 1974.
QC 980.15 W67 V.11 Geology Reference and Engineering Reference