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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL basic hydrologic terms

 rainfall is the amount of liquid precipitating in the form of rain

 A rainfall event occurs over a time period during which measurable rain occurs,
this time period (which is preceded and followed by periods of no rain) is called the
rainfall duration

 the “rainfall” term is often interchanged with “storm”, so we may similarly refer to
the preceding terms as storm events or storm durations

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL basic hydrologic terms

 the depth of rainfall is the depth to which the rainwater would accumulate if it stayed
where it fell on the ground (and spread out evenly over a given area)

 rainfall intensity refers to the time rate of rainfall, the average intensity is equal to
the total depth of rainfall divided by the storm duration

 intensity typically varies throughout a storm, the plot of rainfall intensity vs. time is
referred to as a hyetograph

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL basic hydrologic terms

 hyetographs can be continuous curves or can appear as discrete histograms

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL basic hydrologic terms

 sometimes hyetographs can be plotted with cumulative rainfall as a function of


time in a semi-dimensional form

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probalistic description
HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL of the rainfall

 deterministic models are still a mere estimate of rainfall event prediction

 the uncertainty of rainfall events combined with the variability in their depth,
duration, and spatial extents lead us to classify them as random events

 for this reason, we use probalistic methods to determine the likelihood of their
occurrence

 return period is defined as the average number of years between occurrences of


a hydrologic event with a specified magnitude or greater

 for rainfall, we express the duration and the depth i.e. if a storm is known to
produce a depth of 3 in. over a 24 hr period and it occurs 4 times over the course of
a hundred years, then this is a 25 year, 24 hour, 3 in. storm

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probalistic description
HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL of the rainfall

 exceedence probability, p, is defined as the probability that a rainfall event with a


specified duration and depth will be equaled or exceeded in any one year

 this probability is then equal to the inverse of the return period, T

p = 1/T [1]

 thus for a 25 year, 3 in., 24 hr rainfall, there is a 1/25 or 4% probability that a


rainfall event with that duration and intensity will be occur in any given year in that
region

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probalistic description
HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL of the rainfall

 hydrologic risk is a variable factored into the design of stormwater structures

 there is a hydrologic risk associated with any design as there is always some
chance that the design capacity of the structure will be exceeded

 this risk can also be defined as the probability that a design event will be
exceeded one time or more during the service life of the structure

 we can calculate J as

J = 1 – (1 – 1/T)N [2]

 here T is of course the return period and N is the service life of the
stormwater structure

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probalistic description
HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL of the rainfall

Example 1

GIVEN: a highway culvert is designed to carry a 50 year storm

REQD: determine the hydrologic risk if the service life of the culvert is 40
years
SOLU:
J = 1 – (1 – 1/50)40 = 55% [E1]

 thus, there is a 55% hydrologic risk the design event will be exceeded at
least once during the service life of this culvert

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL IDF curves

 IDF curves graphically present a relationship between average rainfall intensity,


duration, and return period
 visual inspection of any IDF curve demonstrates that an infinite number of rainfall
events with different average intensity and duration can have the same return period

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL IDF curves

 further, we can say that for a specified return period, the average intensity
decreases as duration increases, it also follows that for similar durations the
average intensity is higher for longer return periods

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL IDF curves

 IDF curves are typically readily available for most major cities, they can be
found in local drainage manuals and ordinances

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL hydrologic design variables

design return periods

 failures of urban stormwater structures can occur on various scales  such a


failure often results in the structure not functioning the way it was designed to

 fortunately, if designed properly, this rarely results in loss of life

 ideally, all structures would be designed as “failure proof” but economic


constraints limit this

 thus, there is always some risk of failure when an urban stormwater structure is
designed

 larger period designs lead to larger structures with smaller hydrologic risk, such
structures are more costly to construct

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL hydrologic design variables

design return periods

 factors to be considered when selecting a design return period include the cost of
the structure, the importance of the structure, the level of protection the structure
provides, and the consequences of its failure

 typical design return periods vary from 2 to 5 years for street gutters, 2 to 25
years for storm sewers, and 10 to 100 years for detention basins

 design return periods of 5 to 10, 10 to 25, and 25 to 50 years are used for culverts
under streets carrying low, intermediate, and high traffic volumes respectively

 major highway bridges are designed to pass the 50 or 100 year runoff event

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL hydrologic design variables

design storm duration and depth

 design storm durations depend on the project type  storm sewers and culverts
are sized to convey peak flows  therefore, the design storm duration must be the
one that tends to cause the largest peak discharge for a given return period

 for detention basins, the duration causing the largest detention volume is
obviously the most critical

 generally, the critical storm duration is determined after trying several values and
studying how the storm duration affects the peak discharge and/or detention volume

 IDF curves depict the relationships between the average intensity (depth),
duration, and return period  the average intensity is obtained from the local IDF
curves, the storm depth is equal to the product of duration and average intensity

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

 several standard dimensionless and semi-dimensional hyetographs describe the


temporal distribution of rainfall over a storm duration

 once the design return period, duration, and depth are determined as previously
discussed, we can employ one of these standard temporal distributions to construct
a design hyetograph

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

soil conservation service (SCS) method

 the American SCS developed 4 synthetic 24 hour rainfall distributions that


represent various geographic regions of the US, types I, IA, II, and III

 these are shown in the figure (Akan and Houghtalen 2003) below

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

soil conservation service (SCS) method


 the characteristics of each 24 hour design storm distribution are shown in the
table (Akan and Houghtalen 2003) below

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

soil conservation service (SCS) method


 here t = time, PT = total rainfall
depth, P = rainfall accumulated up to
time t
 we observe that the values are
tabulated in a semidimensional form

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

soil conservation service (SCS) method


EX1

GIVEN: The IDF curves of a project site indicate that the average intensity of a 10
year, 24 hr storm is 0.21 in/hr

REQD: Construct a 10 year, type II design storm hyetograph

SOLU: 1. We recall that a hyetograph is commonly expressed as a graphic


representing the relationship between rain intensity and time, for the
units in our problem we will have Intensity (in/hr) vs. Time (hr)

2. To facilitate this from the data we have been supplied, we construct a


table with the following headings

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

soil conservation service (SCS) method


EX1

SOLU:

3. We further recall that the storm we are interested in is a 24 hr, 10 year


storm, with a 0.21 in/hr intensity

thus:

total depth of rainfall, PT = 0.21 in/hr X 24 hrs = 5.0 in

4. We employ a time interval, Dt = t2 – t1 = 0.5 hr (as the tables are laid out
to this interval), and complete the table

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

EX1 soil conservation service (SCS) method

SOLU: 4. We employ a time interval, Dt = t2 – t1 = 0.5 hr, and complete the table

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

soil conservation service (SCS) method


EX1

SOLU: 4. We employ a time interval, Dt = t2 – t1 = 0.5 hr, and complete the table

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

soil conservation service (SCS) method


EX1

SOLU: 5. Plotting these results yields

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

yen and chow method

 basing their method on the analyses of more than a quarter of a million rainstorms
recorded over 300 locations in the US, Yen and Chow (1980) developed a
generalized dimensionless triangular hyetograph that is shown below

 the method is facilitated through the


following variables, i = intensity, ibar = average
intensity, t = time, td = duration, ip = peak
intensity, and we note that ip/ibar = 2.0

 integral to the method is the estimation of


the value tp/td (see figure to right), this is
achieved by selecting an approximate value
for the location of interest from the figure
developed by Yen and Chow following

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

yen and chow method

 the figure below, developed by Yen and Chow, provides values of tp/td for various
US locations

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

EX2 yen and chow method


GIVEN: The given Norfolk IDF curves indicate that the average intensity for a 5 yr,
3 hr storm is 0.93 in/hr

REQD: Construct a dimensionless, triangular hyetograph for the given storm

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

EX2 yen and chow method

SOLU: 1. We first estimate the value of tp/td from the figure below

for Norfolk, Virginia it is acceptable to estimate a value of tp/td = 0.33


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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

EX2 yen and chow method

SOLU: 2. Now, if we recall that ip/ibar = 2.0, then ip = 2(ibar) = 2(0.93 in/hr)
or, we say ip = 1.86 in/hr, occuring at tp = 0.33(td) = 0.33(3 hrs) = 60 min

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

synthetic block hydrograph method

 in this method, local IDF curves are utilized to construct a design storm for a given
return period and duration in the form of a discrete histogram as shown below

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

synthetic block hydrograph method

 nested within this


duration are shorter
duration / higher intensity
storms
 for instance, a 30 min
design storm constructed
by using a time increment
of Dt = 10 min also contains
the highest 10 min and 20
min depths for the same
return period

 the peak intensity is


dependent on the time
increment used and the
arrangement of the
sequence of rates (or
intensities) is somewhat
arbitrary
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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

synthetic block hydrograph method

 a rule of thumb is to
place the most intense
portion between one-third
and one-half of the rain
duration
 this technique concurs
with the findings of Yen and
Chow (1983), in fact Yen
and Chows fig2.11 may be
utilized to select the
position of the peak
intensity
 after placing the peak,
the others are generally
alternated from one side of
the peak to the other until
all are placed

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

synthetic block hydrograph method


EX3
GIVEN: The Norfolk IDF curves are given below

REQD: Construct a 25 year, 60 min, design storm for Norfolk using a time increment
of Dt = 10 min = 1/6 hr (using synthetic block method)
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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

EX3 synthetic block hydrograph method

SOLU: 1. We construct the solution in tabular format as shown below

2. The intensities of (2) are derived


from the 25 yr IDF curve

3. (3) depicts the depth produced


at any one period, in the first 20
min the depth is P = 5.20 inches
X (20 min/60 min) or 1.73 in

4. (4) lists the incremental depths


produced during different time
intervals, i.e. between 10 and 20
min DP = 1.73 – 1.13 = 0.60 in

5. Here (5) depicts the rate at which the depth


is produced (rainfall intensity)  for this
same entry i = 0.60 in / 1/6 hr = 3.6 in/hr
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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

EX3 synthetic block hydrograph method

SOLU: 6. Now, we note that the sequence of intensities for a “real” storm are
not necessarily as listed in (5), that is to say that the first 10 min
interval is not necessarily when the intensity is greatest

7. Thus, we rearrange for a more


realistic sequence, first, we
place the peak 6.80 in/hr
between 20 and 30 min, the
others are alternated from one
side of the peak to the other
until all are placed (7) (or below)

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ASSIGNMENT 1

ASSIGNED PROBLEMS

HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL [Chapter 2]


1, 2, 3, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19

SOURCE

Urban Hydrology, Hydraulics, and Stormwater Quality by Akan and Houghtalen ©2003

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