Extreme precipitation events in the south-central United States during May and June 2010: Historical perspective, role of ENSO, and trends
Higgins, R.W., V.E. Kousky, and P. Xie, 2011: “Extreme precipitation events in the south-central United States during May and June 2010: Historical perspective, role of ENSO, and trends.” Journal of Hydrometeorology, v. 12, no. 5, pp. 1056-1070, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-10-05039.1.
An analysis of extreme daily precipitation events that occurred in the south-central United States during May and June 2010 is carried out using gridded station data and reanalysis products in use at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Various aspects of the daily extremes are examined from a climate perspective using a 62-yr (1948–2010) period of record, including their historical ranking, common circulation features, moisture plumes, and the possible influence of ENSO. The analysis also considers how the frequency and intensity of daily extremes is changing in the United States. Each of the 2010 flash flood events examined here was associated with historic daily rainfall totals. Several of the events had meteorological conditions in common at upper and lower levels of the atmosphere, and all of the events fit well into an existing classification scheme for heavy precipitation events associated with flash flooding. Each case exhibited characteristics of the “Maya Express” flood events that link tropical moisture plumes from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to midlatitude flooding over the central United States. Consistent with recent assessment reports, it is shown that extreme daily precipitation events in the United States have increased in frequency during the most recent 30-yr period (1980–2009) when compared to the previous 30-yr period (1950–79), though the increases are relatively small during May and June.