The design of small runoff-control structures, from simple floodwater-detention basins to sophisticated best-management practices, requires the statistical characterization of rainfall as a basis for cost-effective, risk-mitigated, hydrologic engineering design. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation, has developed a framework to estimate storm statistics including storm interevent times, distributions of storm depths, and distributions of storm durations for eastern New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The analysis is based on hourly rainfall recorded by the National Weather Service. The database contains more than 155 million hourly values from 774 stations in the study area. Seven sets of maps depicting ranges of mean storm interevent time, mean storm depth, and mean storm duration, by county, as well as tables listing each of those statistics, by county, were developed. The mean storm interevent time is used in probabilistic models to assess the frequency distribution of storms. The Poisson distribution is suggested to model the distribution of storm occurrence, and the exponential distribution is suggested to model the distribution of storm interevent times. The four-parameter kappa distribution is judged as an appropriate distribution for modeling the distribution of both storm depth and storm duration. Preference for the kappa distribution is based on interpretation of L-moment diagrams. Parameter estimates for the kappa distributions are provided. Separate dimensionless frequency curves for storm depth and duration are defined for eastern New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Dimension is restored by multiplying curve ordinates by the mean storm depth or mean storm duration to produce quantile functions of storm depth and duration. Minimum interevent time and location have slight influence on the scale and shape of the dimensionless frequency curves. Ten example problems and solutions to possible applications are provided.
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USGS Numbered Series
Statistical characteristics of storm interevent time, depth, and duration for eastern New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas