The Hydrologic Engineering Center s Hydrologic Modeling System (HMS)

Summary of Topics - HEC-HMS 

Premier Hydrologic Model Today (HEC) 

Performs RF-RO Calculations for Watersheds 

Basic Input and Output Options Precipitation Options Unit Hydrograph Options Flood Routing Option Creating and Viewing Results and Graphs   

Execution of HEC-HMS 

Running actual projects Calibration to gage data Castro Valley case study Keegans example Linkage with GIS/NEXRAD data (HEC Geo-HMS)    

The Hydrologic Cycle
39 Moisture over land

100 Precipitation on land 61 Evaporation from land Snow melt Surface runoff

385 Precipitation on ocean

Precipitation 424 Evaporation from ocean

Infiltration Groundwater Recharge

Wa ter

t ab l e
38 Surface discharge 1 Groundwater discharge

Groundwater flow Impervious strata

Uses of the HEC Program
Models the rainfall-runoff process in a watershed based on watershed physiographic data   

Offers a variety of modeling options in order to compute UH for basin areas. Offers a variety of options for flood routing along streams. Capable of estimating parameters for calibration of each basin based on comparison of computed data to observed data

HEC-1 Program History
HEC-1 - History of Model Development
Separate Programs: 1967 by Leo R. Beard  Major Revision and Unification: 1973  Second Major Revision: 1981 (Dam Breach, Kinematic Wave)  PC Versions: 1984 (partial), 1988 (full) 

HEC-1/HMS Program History
Current Versions: 1991, 1998 

1991 Version Provides Extended Memory Support 1998 Version 4.1 is Final Release

HEC NexGen Project Begins 1990 (RAS, HMS, FDA) HEC-HMS - New GUI and Updates
First Release April 1998  Version 1.1 Released April 1999  Current Version 2.0.3 

HEC-HMS Background
Purpose of HEC-HMS
Improved User Interface, Graphics, and Reporting  Improved Hydrologic Computations  Integration of Related Hydrologic Capabilities 

Importance of HEC-HMS
Foundation for Future Hydrologic Software  Replacement for HEC-1 

Improvements over HEC-1
Ease of Use
projects divided into three components  user can run projects with different parameters instead of creating new projects  hydrologic data stored as DSS files  capable of handling NEXRAD-rainfall data and gridded precipitation 

Converts HEC-1 files into HMS files

HEC-HMS Availability
Available Through HEC Vendors Available at HEC Web Site: http://www.wrc-hec.usace.army.mil Public Domain Program
No Copyright on Software No Copyright on HEC Documentation

Special Training Available

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Program Organization
Main project screen 

Connects to all data and information through menus

Three components
Basin model - contains the elements of the basin, their connectivity, and runoff parameters  Meteorologic Model - contains the rainfall and evapotranspiration data  Control Specifications - contains the start/stop timing and calculation intervals for the run 

Project Definition  

May contain several basin models, meteorologic models, and control specifications User can select a variety of combinations of the three models in order to see the effects of changing parameters on one subbasin

Basin Model
Basin Model    

Based on Graphical User Interface (GUI) Click on elements from left and drag into basin area Can import map files from GIS programs to use as background Actual locations of elements do not matter, just connectivity and runoff parameters

Basin Model Elements 

subbasins- contains data for subbasins (losses, UH transform, and baseflow) reaches- connects elements together and contains flood routing data junctions- connection point between elements reservoirs- stores runoff and releases runoff at a specified rate (storage-discharge relation)   

Basin Model Elements 

sinks- has an inflow but no outflow sources- has an outflow but no inflow diversions- diverts a specified amount of runoff to an element based on a rating curve - used for detention storage elements or overflows  

Basin Model Parameters
Loss rate, UH transform, and baseflow methods

Abstractions (Losses)
Interception Storage Depression Storage Surface Storage Evaporation Infiltration Interflow Groundwater and Base Flow

Loss Rate methods
Green & Ampt Initial & constant SCS curve no. Gridded SCS curve no. Deficit/Constant No loss rate

Initial and Uniform Loss Computation
Initial Loss Applied at Beginning of Storm
Estimated from Previous or SCS data  Sand: 0.80-1.50 inches; Clay: 0.40-1.00 inches 

Uniform Loss Applied Throughout Storm
Also Estimated From Previous Studies or SCS Data  Sand: 0.10-0.0 in/hr; Clay 0.05-0.15 in/hr 

HEC-HMS Loss Entry Window

Rainfall/Runoff Transformation 

Unit Hydrograph Distributed Runoff Grid-Based Transformation Methods: 

Clark Snyder SCS Input Ordinates ModClark Kinematic Wave

Unit Hydrograph

Sub-Basin Surface Outflow Due to Unit (1-in) Rainfall Excess Applied Uniformly Over a SubBasin in a Specified Time Duration HEC-HMS Sets Duration Equal to Computation Interval

Duration of UH: 

Synthetic Unit Hydrographs
Computed from Basin Characteristics HEC- HMS Synthetic Unit Hydrographs 

SCS Dimensionless Unit graph Clark Unit Hydrograph (TC & R) Snyder Unit Hydrograph User-Defined Input Unit Hydrograph ModClark Unit Hydrograph

Clark Unit Hydrograph Computation

Estimating Time of Concentration for Clark Unit Hydrograph
Hydraulic Analysis Method  

Compute Travel Time in Open Channels and Storm Sewers based on Flow Velocities Compute Reservoir Travel Time from Wave Velocity

Overland Flow Equations 

Kerby Method Kirpich Method Overton & Meadows SCS TR-55 Method for Shallow Concentrated Flow

Baseflow Options
recession  constant monthly  linear reservoir  no baseflow 

Stream Flow Routing
Simulates Movement of Flood Wave Through Stream Reach  Accounts for Storage and Flow Resistance  Allows modeling of a watershed with subbasins 

Reach Routing

Flood routing methods:
Simple Lag Modified Puls Muskingum Muskingum Cunge Kinematic Wave

HEC-HMS Methods for Stream Flow Routing 

Hydraulic Methods - Uses partial form of St Venant Equations
Kinematic Wave Method  Muskingum-Cunge Method  

Hydrologic Methods
Muskingum Method  Storage Method (Modified Puls)  Lag Method 

Effects of Stream Flow Routing
Avg Inflow - Avg Outflow = dS/dt

Storage S Inflow


Modified Puls (Storage) Stream Flow Routing Method
Storage-Indication Relationship: I - Q = (dS/dt)
Averaging at two points in time: 1 and 2

I1 + I2 + (2S1/(t - Q1)= (2S2/(t + Q2)

HEC-HMS Stream Flow Routing Data Window

Storage-Discharge Relationships

Stream Flow Diversions
Diversion Identification Maximum Volume of Diversion (Optional) Maximum Rate of Diversion (Optional) Diversion Rating Table
Stream Flow Rates Upstream of Diversion  Corresponding Diversion Rates 

Stream Flow Diversions
Flow is allowed to move from one channel to another via a side weir or flow across a low divide Weir
Diverted Q

Flow increases until a fixed level and then a flow diversion table determines rate through the weir or across the divide

Reservoir Routing
Developed Outside HEC-HMS
Storage Specification Alternatives:
Storage versus Discharge Storage versus Elevation Surface Area versus Elevation

Discharge Specification Alternatives:
Spillways, Low-Level Outlets, Pumps Dam Safety: Embankment Overflow, Dam Breach

Pond storage with outflow pipe

- Q = dS dt

Level P l Reservoir

Q ( eir flow)

H Q (orifice flow) S = f(Q) Q = f(H)

Orifice flow

Orifice flow: Q=C* H


Inflow and Outflow

nf Q (cfs) ( f) =Q Outf



Weir flows

Weir Flow: Q = CLH /

Reservoir Data Input
Initial Conditions to Be Considered 

Inflow = Outflow Initial Storage Values Initial Outflow Initial Elevation

Elevation Data Relates to Both Storage/Area and Discharge HEC-1 Routing Routines with Initial Conditions and Elevation Data can be Imported as Reservoir Elements

Reservoir Data Input Window

Meteorologic Model
Meteorologic Model
user hyetograph user gage weighting inverse-distance gage weighting gridded precipitation frequency storm standard project storm Eastern U.S.

monthly average, no evapotranspiration

Historical Rainfall Data
Recording Gages Non-Recording Rainfall Gages

Design Storms
Hypothetical Frequency Storms Corps Standard Project Storm Probable Maximum Precipitation

Gage Data
Gage Data
(from project definition screen)

Precipitation gagesprecipitation data for use with meteorologic models Stream gages- observed level data to compare computed and actual results

Precipitation: Gridded Weather Radar Data
Data from National Weather Service
NexRAD program, Doppler Radar

Data must be manipulated and stored in DSS file format Grids are HRAP (NWS) or SHG (HEC)
HRAP uses spherical projections and generalized earth radius values SHG uses Albers Equal Area projections Grids cover about 1 square kilometer

Historical raw data may not be archived

Sources of Rainfall Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF)
East of 105th Meridian (Denver)
NWS HYDRO-5 (5 minutes to 60 minutes)  NWS TP-40 (2 hours to 24 hours) - 1961  NWS TP-49 (2 days to 10 days) 

West of 105th Meridian 

NOAA Atlas 2 (Separate Volumes for Each State)

Input and Output Files
project-name.HMS: List of models, descriptions and
project default method options

basin-model-name.BASIN: Basin model data,
including connectivity information

precipitation-model-name.PRECIP: Precipitation
model data

control-specifications- name.CONTROL: Control

run-name.LOG: Messages generated during execution
of run

project-name.RUN: List of runs, including most
recent execution time

Input and Output Files
project-name.DSS: DSS file containing basin model
data such as computed hydrographs and storage discharge relationships project-name.DSC: List of files contained in DSS file project-name.OUT: Log of operations for the DSS file project-name.MAP: Coordinate point file for subbasin boundaries and channel location project-name.GAGE: Listing of gages available for use in the project HMStemp.TMP: Echo listing of imported HEC-1 model

Data Storage System (DSS)
Multiple time series or relational data sets Each data set or record has a unique pathname/Castro
Valley/Fire Dept/PRECIP-INC/16Jan197/10min/Obs/

Pathnames Consist of Parts A through F  Part A: General name, project name  Part B: Specific name, or control point  Part C: Data type (PRECIP-INC, PRECIP-CUM, FLOW, STORAGE, etc.)  Part D: Start Date  Part E: Time interval  Part F: User specified

The HEC-HMS Options
Precipitation Option (6 available) Loss Computation (5 available) Runoff Transform Computation (6 available) Routing Computation (7 available) Over 6 x 5 x 6 x 7 = 1,260 Combinations Subbasin
routing reach

Control Specifications
Control Specifications - Start/Stop/Time Interval

Running a project
User selects the
1. Basin model 2. Meteorologic model 3. Control ID for the HMS run

Viewing Results 

To view the results: right-click on any basin element, results will be for that point Display of results: hydrograph- graphs outflow vs. time summary table- gives the peak flow and time of peak time-series table- tabular form of outflow vs. time 

Comparing computed and actual results: plot observed data on the same hydrograph to by selecting a discharge gage for an element

Viewing Results


HEC-HMS Output

Summary Detailed (Time Series)

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Hyetograph Plots Sub-Basin Hydrograph Plots Routed Hydrograph Plots Combined Hydrograph Plots Recorded Hydrographs - comparison

Viewing Results

Summary table

Time series table

HEC-HMS Output
Sub-Basin Plots
Runoff Hydrograph Hyetograph Abstractions Base Flow

HEC-HMS Output
Junction Plots
Tributary Hydrographs Combined Hydrograph Recorded Hydrograph

Purpose of Calibration
Can Compute Sub-Basin Parameters
Loss Function Parameters Unit Hydrograph Parameters

Can Compute Stream Flow Routing Parameters Requires Gage Records

FINALLY - information on HEC-HMS
www.hec.usace.army.mil/software/software_ distrib/hec-hms/hechmsprogram.html
(the user s manual can be downloaded from this site)

www.dodson-hydro.com/download.htm# Electronic_Documents Available on the laboratory computers

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