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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

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

##  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

##  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

##  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

## 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

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HYDROLOGIC QUANTIFICATION OF RAINFALL design-storm hyetographs

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

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

##  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

## 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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