A paradigm of extreme rainfall pluvial floods in complex urban areas: The flood event of 15 July 2020 in Palermo (Italy)

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In the last few years, some regions of the Mediterranean area have witnessed a progressive increase in extreme events, such as urban and flash floods, as a response to the increasingly frequent and severe extreme rainfall events, which are often exacerbated by the ever-growing urbanization. In such a context, the urban drainage systems may not be sufficient to convey the rainwater, thus increasing the risk deriving from the occurrence of such events. This study focuses on a particularly intense urban flood that occurred in Palermo (Italy) on 15 July 2020; it represents a typical pluvial flood due to extreme rainfall on a complex urban area that many cities have experienced in recent years, especially in the Mediterranean region. A conceptual hydrological model and a 2D hydraulic model, particularly suitable for simulations in a very complex urban context, have been used to simulate the event. Results have been qualitatively validated by means of crowdsourced information and satellite images. The experience of Palermo, which has highlighted the urgent need for a shift in the way stormwater in urban settlements is managed, can be assumed to be a paradigm for modeling pluvial floods in complex urban areas under extreme rainfall conditions. Although the approaches and the related policies cannot be identical for all cities, the modeling framework used here to assess the impacts of the event under study and some conclusive remarks could be easily transferred to other, different urban contexts.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)2563-2580
Numero di pagine18
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2021

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