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probable maximum flood (PMF)

The largest flood that may reasonably be expected to occur at a given point on a stream from the most severe combination of critical meteorologic and hydrologic conditions that are reasonably possible on a particular watershed. This term identifies estimates of hypothetical flood characteristics (peak discharge, volume, and hydrograph shape) that are considered to be the most severe "reasonably possible" at a particular location, based on relatively comprehensive hydrometeorological analyses of critical runoff-producing precipitation (and snowmelt, if pertinent) and hydrologic factors favorable for maximum flood runoff. The maximum runoff condition resulting from the most severe combination of hydrologic and meteorologic conditions that are considered reasonably possible for the drainage basin under study.

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