Sunday, 22 January 2012
Gulf Coast Precipitation Characteristics: Comparing Coastal and Inland Regions
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Heavy rain events are a common occurrence in the southeastern United States where precipitation is caused by a variety of storm types associated with mid-latitude and tropical influences. Hourly rain gauge data from four to six locations over a four year period (June 2006 – May 2010) is matched with NEXRAD radar images and archived weather maps and satellite imagery in determining each storm's dynamical forcing (e.g., fronts, upper-level disturbances, weak forcing, tropical cyclones) and structure. Storms are included if they produce at least 0.1 inches of precipitation. New storms are identified if there is a six hour gap between accumulations or if there is a distinct change in dynamical forcing.
Hourly and storm total histograms for each storm type are created and analyzed for seasonal and inter-annual variations at each site. Emphasis is placed on quantifying each storm type's contribution to annual rainfall totals and how that varies between coastal locations and corresponding sites that are ~300 km farther inland. This information will likely be useful for forecasters and researchers concerned with outlining expectations for heavy rainfall events along the Gulf Coast associated with different storm types and structures.