Depth-duration frequency of precipitation for Texas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4044
Prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation



The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation, conducted a study of the depth-duration frequency of precipitation for Texas. Depth-duration frequency is an estimate of the depth of precipitation for a specified duration and frequency or recurrence interval. For this report, precipitation durations of 15, 30, and 60 minutes; 1, 2, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours; and 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 days were investigated. The recurrence intervals for the frequencies range from 2 to 500 years.

The time series of precipitation annual maxima for 173 fifteen-minute, 274 hourly, and 865 daily National Weather Service precipitation stations with at least 10 years of record in Texas provide the basis of depth-duration frequency for each identified duration. In total, about 3,030; 10,160; and 38,120 cumulative years of record are available for the 15-minute, hourly, and daily stations, respectively.

L-moment statistics of the precipitation annual maxima were calculated for each duration and for each station using unbiased L-moment estimators. The statistics calculated were the mean, L-scale, L-coefficient of variation, L-skew, and L-kurtosis. The mean for each station and duration was corrected for the bias associated with fixed-interval recording of precipitation. The generalized logistic distribution was determined, using L-moment ratio diagrams, as an appropriate probability distribution for modeling the frequency of annual maxima for durations of 15 minutes to 24 hours; whereas, the generalized extreme-value distribution was determined as appropriate for durations of 1 to 7 days.

The location, scale, and shape parameters of the distributions for each duration and each station were calculated from the L-moments. These parameters were contoured using spatial interpolation, based on the geostatistical method of kriging, to produce 37 maps that depict the spatial variation and magnitude of each parameter. Contour maps of the shape parameter for the generalized extreme-value distribution for durations of 1 to 7 days are not presented; the root mean square errors of preliminary maps for 1- to 7-day shape parameters were not appreciably smaller than the statewide standard deviation. Therefore, a single statewide mean shape parameter was used for 1- to 7-day durations. The depth-duration frequency for any location in Texas can be estimated using the contour maps and the equation of the corresponding distribution.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Depth-duration frequency of precipitation for Texas
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 98-4044
DOI 10.3133/wri984044
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Austin, TX
Contributing office(s) Texas Water Science Center
Description Document: iv, 107 p.; Plate: 29 x 29 inches
Country United States
State Texas
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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