The 1993 Midwest Extreme Precipitation in Historical and Probabilistic Perspective

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Extreme rainfall amounts that resulted in severe flooding during the spring and summer of 1993 along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are examined from a historical and probabilistic viewpoint. Long-term average precipitation amounts and the departures of the 1993 summer rainfall from these averages are presented. Also, climatic regionalization and precipitation probabilities developed for the National Drought Atlas using L-moment techniques have been applied to the drainage area that contributed to the flooding. The exceedance probabilities of monthly and multiple-month observed precipitation amounts have been calculated. The results show that the three-month period May–July experienced unusually heavy rainfall when compared to prior years, and that July was particularly wet. Recurrence intervals for the rainfall events vary widely depending on the specific time period and locality, but the observed precipitation was an extreme event.

+National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina.

#IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York.

*Based on poster presented at the fall 1993 meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Nathaniel B. Guttman, National Climatic Data Center, Federal Building, Asheville, NC 28801.

Extreme rainfall amounts that resulted in severe flooding during the spring and summer of 1993 along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are examined from a historical and probabilistic viewpoint. Long-term average precipitation amounts and the departures of the 1993 summer rainfall from these averages are presented. Also, climatic regionalization and precipitation probabilities developed for the National Drought Atlas using L-moment techniques have been applied to the drainage area that contributed to the flooding. The exceedance probabilities of monthly and multiple-month observed precipitation amounts have been calculated. The results show that the three-month period May–July experienced unusually heavy rainfall when compared to prior years, and that July was particularly wet. Recurrence intervals for the rainfall events vary widely depending on the specific time period and locality, but the observed precipitation was an extreme event.

+National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina.

#IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York.

*Based on poster presented at the fall 1993 meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Nathaniel B. Guttman, National Climatic Data Center, Federal Building, Asheville, NC 28801.
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