92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Thursday, 26 January 2012
Atmospheric Contributors to the 14 June 2010 Flash Flood in Oklahoma City
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Jeffrey B. Basara, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and B. G. Illston and G. McManus

On 14 June 2010 a complex of strong thunderstorms yielded heavy rainfall across the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area. The official observing station at Will Rogers World Airport recorded a daily total of 194 mm which was the largest value ever recorded for any day at that location. However, even greater storm-total values were measured by human observers including 312 mm within the northern suburb of Edmond. In addition, during the event, the Oklahoma City North Oklahoma Mesonet station measured a 6-hour rainfall rate that exceeded the 500-year return period. Unfortunately, with such exceptional rainfall totals and associated widespread storm-total values exceeding 130 mm, coupled with the most intense portion of the event occurring during the morning commute, widespread flash flooding occurred within heavily populated areas of Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities. The resultant flooding caused damage to homes and infrastructure and also prompted multiple rescues of stranded citizens.

With a wide array of in situ and remote sensing instrumentation to measure the atmosphere, central Oklahoma is one of the most densely observed locations in the world. Using the combined datasets collected during the 14 June 2010 flash flood, this study examined the contributing atmospheric factors that led to the event including the orientation of surface boundaries, the low-level jet, anomalous precipitable water values throughout the depth of the troposphere, and the impact of the urban surface.

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