The surface water runoff (sheet wash) during simulated heavy rainfall of between 25 and 100 mm/h (rainfall durations of between 1 and 6 hours, on plots of between 2.5 and 3.5 m 2) on soils of Pliocene and Quaternary sediments and on cherts from Ordovician sediments in nearly-natural environments was dependent on inclination of slope (32%) and on kinetic energy of rainfall (30%). When using vegetation cover as an additional variable for nearly-natural and human influenced environments, the vegetation cover increases R 2 from 0.62 to 0.74. The degree of slope controls between 25 and 30% of topsoil characteristics. The results of model simulations were confirmed during natural heavy rainfalls on different field plots. Because simulated rainfalls were based on recorded intensities and durations, results compared with historic records and estimations imply also that specific intensity of between 25 and 100 mm/h and duration of between 1 and 6 hours are not so important, relative to geomorphic-environmental impact, in flash flood generation in a Mediterranean climate area like the Roussillon area (SE-France). On 26 September 1992 the rainfall intensity of a four-hour heavy rainfall event was to a large extent influenced by the topography of the catchment of River Réart/Canterrane (Roussillon, SE-France), increasing with altitude. As an example of the model application: the flash flood of 26/27 September 1992 was simulated. The peak flash-flood flow at the river mouth of River Réart/Canterrane was 1100 m 3/s or 7 (m 3/km 2)/s. Runoff conditions for the natural or nearly natural catchment would have accounted for 43.6% of this, agricultural impact for 9.1% and building areas and construction sites for 5.5%. A further 41.8% was accounted for by the effects of breaching of stored floodwater. In absence of breaching of stored floodwater, the nearly-natural part of the peak flash-flood flow would have been about 480 m 3/s (75%) and the part caused by human influence about 160 m 3/s (25%).