AbstractThe hydroclimatology, hydrometeorology, and hydrology of flash floods in the arid/semi-arid southwestern United States are examined through empirical analyses of long-term, high-resolution rainfall and stream gauging observations, together with hydrological modeling analyses of the 19 August 2014 storm based on KINEROS2. Our analyses are centered on identifying the structure and evolution of flood-producing storms, as well as the interactions of space-time rainfall variability and basin characteristics in determining the upper tail properties of rainfall and flood magnitudes over this region. We focus on four watersheds in Maricopa County, central Arizona with contrasting geomorphological properties. Flash floods over central Arizona are concentrated in both time and space, reflecting controls of the North American Monsoon and complex terrain. Thunderstorm systems during North American Monsoon, as represented by the 19 August 2014 storm, are the dominant flood agents that determine the upper tail of flood frequency over central Arizona, and also shape the envelop curve of floods for watersheds smaller than 250 km2. Flood response for the 19 August 2014 storm is associated with storm elements of comparable spatial extent to drainage area and slow movement for the three compact, headwater watersheds. Flood response for the elongated and relatively flat Skunk Creek highlights the importance of spatial distribution of rainfall for transmission losses in arid/semi-arid watersheds.
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Oct 13, 2017
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