10 Mar 2023
 | 10 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Hydraulic response of a tropical urban estuary to a typhoon event: case study of Ho Chi Minh City and typhoon Usagi

Francisco Rodrigues do Amaral, Nicolas Gratiot, and Thierry Pellarin

Abstract. We investigate the most severe rainfall event ever experienced in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. It occurred on November 25th, 2018 when typhoon (TY) Usagi directly hit HCMC. During this event, there was more than 300 mm in rainfall over 24 h which led to flooding and considerable material damages. We propose an in-depth study of the hydrological response of this urban estuary region at a short time scale by focusing on the days before and after typhoon Usagi. We use a set of data analysis and signal processing tools to characterize and quantify both coastal and continental effects on the hydrosystem. We found that TY Usagi made landfall without forming a significant storm surge. The extreme rainfall does not translate in immediate river discharge but presents a 10 hour time lag between peak precipitation and peak residual discharge. Nevertheless, increased water levels can be seen at both urban and upstream river stations with a similar time lag. At the upstream station, residual discharge represents 1.5 % of available rain water and evidence of upstream wide spread flooding was found. At the urban station, we assess the potential surface run off during the event to be 8.9 % of the upstream residual discharge. Hence, the Saigon river would be capable of evacuating the urban flood water after the event. However, a time lag in peak water level and peak rainfall was found and attributed to the combination of high tide and impervious streets which prevented the evacuation of rain water and resulted in street flooding of up to 0.8 m. Overall, it was found that despite not having a significant storm surge, the coastal tidal forcing is predominant in the hydrodynamics of the river even during severe heavy rainfall with tidal fluctuations of water level and respective discharge much larger than the residuals.

Francisco Rodrigues do Amaral et al.

Status: open (until 27 Apr 2023)

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Francisco Rodrigues do Amaral et al.

Francisco Rodrigues do Amaral et al.


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Short summary
We investigate typhoon Usagi's impact on the Saigon river traversing Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We propose an in-depth analysis of the effect on water levels and discharge of the Saigon river and its connection to the extreme precipitation and coastal storm surge. It was found that precipitation presents a 10 hour time lag to the peak river discharge which evacuates only 1.5 % of available water. Additionally, it was found that the coastal tides control the river even during the event.