Illinois State Water Survey Bulletin 75: New Precipitation Frequency Study for Illinois

Momcilo Markus, James Angel, Kurt Woolford, Kexuan Wang, Shailendra Singh, Brian Kerschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Storm frequency estimates and their temporal distributions are important in determining estimates of runoff or peak flow rates in many engineering and hydrological problems. Illinois State Water Survey Bulletin 70 has been serving as the design rainfall standard in Illinois since its publication in 1989. Although Bulletin 70 represented the best available data at the time of its publication, the standards needed to be reevaluated and updated after more than three decades and with the growing evidence of the nonstationary nature of heavy precipitation. The trends in heavy precipitation in Illinois prompted the creation of a new frequency study named Bulletin 75, providing precipitation frequencies for event durations ranging from 5 min to 10 days and for recurrence intervals ranging from 2 months to 500 years. The results are presented for the same 10 geographic sections in Illinois as in Bulletin 70 to maintain the continuity of hydrologic studies and compatibility with regulations. The primary goal of this paper is to outline some of the key methodological issues and challenges, to compare the results with the previous sources, and to highlight the effects of the changing precipitation standards on the development of amendments to existing ordinances. Lake County in Illinois, as one of the most affected urban areas with the highest change in heavy precipitation, was selected to illustrate issues related to the application of modified precipitation standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-480
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • climate variability/change
  • flooding
  • precipitation
  • stormwater management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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