Seasonal distribution of heavy rainfall events in Midwest

James Randal Angel, Floyd A. Huff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The seasonal distribution of extreme rainfall is important in hydrology and agriculture, especially in problems related to water control. The amounts at selected return periods vary by season and geographic location, as do the surface conditions of soil moisture and vegetation. Therefore, a particular size storm may have a different impact if it occurs during summer as opposed to winter (over frozen ground). In terms of total precipitation and the top-ranked storms, summer is the dominant season for extreme rainfall in the northern states, while the other seasons increasingly contribute more in the central and southern portions of the Midwest. This effect is maximized in Kentucky, as well as in southern Illinois and Indiana, where winter precipitation approaches that of summer in magnitude. This has important consequences, since soil moisture is generally quite high in the Midwest at this time of year. The combination of large winter rainfall events and near-saturated soil conditions can lead to high runoff. An examination of seasonal rainfall frequencies, along with seasonal soil conditions, may lead to the optimal solution to a water control design problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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