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A Statistical Comparison of the Properties of Flash Flooding and Nonflooding Precipitation Events in Portions of New York and Pennsylvania

Flash floods reported for the forecast area of the National Weather Service Forecast Office at Binghamton, New York (BGM), are compared with similar significant precipitation and flash flood watch events not corresponding to flash flood reports. These event types are characterized by measures of surface hydrological conditions, surface and upper-air variables, thermodynamic properties, and proxies for synoptic-scale features. Flash flood and nonflood events are compared quantitatively via discriminant analysis and cross validation, and qualitatively via scatterplots and composite soundings. Results are presented in the context of a flash flood checklist used at BGM prior to this study. Flash floods and nonfloods are found to differ most significantly in antecedent soil moisture. The wind direction at 850 hPa shows differences between flood and nonflood events, with flooding more common for an easterly to southeasterly direction and nonflooding more common for a northwesterly direction. Southwesterly wind direction is characteristic of both types. In general, nonflooding significant precipitation events are more commonly associated with a better-defined ridge axis of relatively high 850-hPa equivalent potential temperature and larger convective available potential energy as compared to the flash flood events. Several parameters included on the BGM flash flood checklist, though effective at distinguishing significant precipitation events and flash floods from random events, were found to be unable to separate flash floods from nonflooding significant rain events. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Weather and Forecasting American Meteorological Society

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