On 10 May 2016, Guangdong Province, China, suffered a heavy rainstorm. This rainstorm flooded the whole city of Guangzhou. More than 100,000 people were affected by the flooding, in which eight people lost their lives. Subway stations, cars, and buses were submerged. In order to analyse the influential factors of this flooding, topographical characteristics were mapped using Digital Elevation Model (DEM) by the Geographical Information System (GIS) and meteorological conditions were statistically summarised at both the whole city level and the district level. To analyse the relationship between flood risk and urbanization, GIS was also adopted to map the effect of the subway system using the Multiple Buffer operator over the flooding distribution area. Based on the analyses, one of the significant influential factors of flooding was identified as the urbanization degree, e.g., construction of a subway system, which forms along flood-prone areas. The total economic loss due to flooding in city centers with high urbanization has become very serious. Based on the analyses, the traditional standard of severity of flooding hazards (rainfall intensity grade) was modified. Rainfall intensity for severity flooding was decreased from 50 mm to 30 mm in urbanized city centers. In order to protect cities from flooding, a “Sponge City” planning approach is recommended to increase the temporary water storage capacity during heavy rainstorms. In addition, for future city management, the combined use of GIS and Building Information Modelling (BIM) is recommended to evaluate flooding hazards.
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