Flooding in Texas: Examination of Temporal Changes and Impacts of Tropical Cyclones

Authors


  • Paper No. JAWRA-12-0019-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Discussions are open until six months from print publication.

Abstract

Annual maximum peak discharge measurements from 62 stations with a record of at least 70 years are used to assess extreme flooding in Texas at the regional scale. This work focuses on examination of the validity of the stationarity assumption and on the impact of tropical cyclones (TCs) on the upper tail of the flood peak distribution. We assess the validity of the stationarity assumption by testing the records for abrupt and gradual changes. The presence of abrupt changes in the first two moments of the flood peak distribution is assessed using the Lombard test. We use the Mann-Kendall test to examine the presence of monotonic trends. Results indicate that violations of the stationarity assumption are most commonly caused by abrupt changes, which are often associated with river regulation. We fit the time series of stationary flood records with the generalized extreme value distribution to investigate whether TCs control the upper tail of the flood peak distribution. Our results indicate that TCs play a diminished role in shaping the upper tail of the flood peak distribution compared with areas of the eastern United States subject to frequent TCs.

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