CR 05:159-166 (1995)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr005159

Maximum precipitation rates in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of the southeastern United States

Konrad CE II

Previous studies have identified relationships between annual precipitation and various attributes of the topography, such as elevation and exposure. Many hydrologic and geomorphic phenomena, however, are particularly sensitive to the manner in which the annual precipitation is delivered. Processes such as overland flow and erosion depend strongly on the maximum precipitation rate observed in a given precipitation event. In this study, relationships were identified between the maximum precipitation hourly rates observed in an event and selected topographic and geographic (TOPO/GEOG) attributes of the region. Rainfall events were identified from the hourly precipitation records at 44 stations in the Blue Ridge Mountains, USA, and classified according to the maximum rate of rainfall observed. The frequencies of low, moderate, and high intensity precipitation events were then statistically related to 30 TOPO/GEOG parameters. For the cool season, the strongest relationships were observed between low intensity events and several TOPO/GEOG attributes, especially northwest exposure. For the warm season, low and moderate intensity events exhibited strong relationships with elevation. High intensity events displayed weak to moderate relationships with the distance to the Gulf of Mexico and south exposure.


Orographic precipitation · Precipitation rates · Blue Ridge Mountains


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