S42 Synoptic categorization and data analysis of historical flood-inducing storms in the Northeast

Sunday, 23 January 2011
Johnathan P. Kirk, Northeast Regional Climate Center, Ithaca, NY

The synoptic causes of historical storms impacting river gauges across the northeast were identified and investigated for trends. Given the maximum precipitation total date for each year from as early as 1904 to 2005, storms were categorized on the synoptic scale based on their geographic proximity. Categories included, among others: Coastal Lows, Cut-off Lows from the Ohio River Valley to Canada, and Tropical Cyclones. The initial broad categorization of each storm was narrowed and the definitions were fine-tuned to more accurately reflect each storm's characteristics. Once sorted, the trends in storm type frequency were analyzed at each of 10 river gauges across New England. This method was later expanded to include river gauges in Canada. Statistical analysis indicates that Cut-off Lows tend to be the most directly responsible cause of elevated river flows than any other synoptic storm.
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