Precipitation depth-duration and frequency characteristics for Antelope Valley, Mojave Desert, California

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4056



Methods to evaluate changes in the volume of storm runoff from drainage basins that are likely to be urbanized are needed by land-use planning agencies to establish criteria for the design of flood-control systems. To document the changes in runoff volume of basins that may be urbanized, nine small basins that are considered representative of varying hydrologic conditions in Antelope Valley, California, were selected for detailed study. Precipitation and stream-gaging stations were established and data were collected for the period 1990-93. The data collected at these U.S. Geological Survey stations were supplemented by data collected at 35 Long-term precipitation stations operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. These data will be used to calibrate and verify rainfall-runoff models for the nine basins. Results of the model runs will then be used as a guide for estimating basin runoff characteristics throughout Antelope Valley. Annual precipitation in Antelope Valley ranges from more than 20 inches in the mountains to less than 4 inches on the valley floor. Most precipitation in the valley falls during the months of December through March, but cyclonic storms in the fall and convectional storms in the summer sometimes occur. The duration of most storms ranges from 1 to 8 days, but most of the precipitation usually occurs within the first 2 days. Many parts of the valley have been affected by storms with precipitation depths that equal or exceed 0.60 inch per hour. The storms of January 1943 and March 1983 were the most intense storms of record, with recurrence intervals greater than 100 years in some parts of the valley. Depth-duration ratios were calculated by disaggregating daily total precipitation data for intervals of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, and 18 hours for storms that occurred during 1990-93. The hourly total precipitation data were then disaggregated at 5-minute intervals. A comparison of the depth-duration data collected during 1990-93 at the Geological Survey stations with the data collected at the other stations indicated that the 1990-93 data are not representative of historical storms. Therefore, depth-duration ratios developed using these data should be considered preliminary for use in disaggregating the historical hourly data for Antelope Valley. Annual maximum 24-hour precipitation records were used to calculate precipitation depth-frequency relations for 23 stations in the valley using the log Pearson type III distribution. These calculations indicate that the storms of January 1943 and March 1983 were the most intense of record in the valley with recurrence intervals greater than 100 years.
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Precipitation depth-duration and frequency characteristics for Antelope Valley, Mojave Desert, California
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 95-4056
DOI 10.3133/wri954056
Edition -
Year Published 1995
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Report Section [distributor],
Description iv, 33 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.
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