284955 High-intensity Rainfall Events as Observed by the Oklahoma Mesonet

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Renee A. McPherson, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and W. G. McPherson Jr.

The Oklahoma Mesonet (http://www.mesonet.org) has measured numerous extreme rainfall events during its 22-year history. Examples include 23 cm of rain on August 18, 2007, in west-central Oklahoma (Fort Cobb Mesonet site) as a result of the passage of the remnants of a tropical storm and 15 cm of rain on May 19-20, 2015, in eastern Oklahoma (Clayton Mesonet site) as a result of a slow-moving mesoscale convective system. These rainfall extremes can result in dangerous flash flooding, especially in urban environments as well as rural locations where the soil is already saturated. Damage to infrastructure, especially roadways, is costly after flash flooding, and, sadly, several Oklahomans have lost their lives during or shortly after some of the heavy rainfall events.

This presentation will discuss high-intensity rainfall events measured by the Mesonet, analyze trends in the frequency of convective rain events, and describe substantial changes in the spatial distribution of these events. The origins of the Oklahoma Mesonet begin with the Memorial Day flood of 1984; thus, we chose this topic in honor of the legacy of Dr. Ken Crawford, founder of the Mesonet.

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