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Title: Flash Flooding in Arid/Semiarid Regions: Climatological Analyses of Flood-Producing Storms in Central Arizona during the North American Monsoon
Abstract

Flash flooding in the arid/semiarid southwestern United States is frequently associated with convective rainfall during the North American monsoon. In this study, we examine flood-producing storms in central Arizona based on analyses of dense rain gauge observations and stream gauging records as well as North American Regional Reanalysis fields. Our storm catalog consists of 102 storm events during the period of 1988–2014. Synoptic conditions for flood-producing storms are characterized based on principal component analyses. Four dominant synoptic modes are identified, with the first two modes explaining approximately 50% of the variance of the 500-hPa geopotential height. The transitional synoptic pattern from the North American monsoon regime to midlatitude systems is a critical large-scale feature for extreme rainfall and flooding in central Arizona. Contrasting spatial rainfall organizations and storm environment under the four synoptic modes highlights the role of interactions among synoptic conditions, mesoscale processes, and complex terrains in determining space–time variability of convective activities and flash flood hazards in central Arizona. We characterize structure and evolution properties of flood-producing storms based on storm tracking algorithms and 3D radar reflectivity. Fast-moving storm elements can be important ingredients for flash floods in the arid/semiarid southwestern United States. Contrasting storm properties for more » cloudburst storms highlight the wide spectrum of convective intensities for extreme rain rates in the arid/semiarid southwestern United States and exhibit comparable vertical structures to their counterparts in the eastern United States.

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Authors:
 ;  ;  ;  
Award ID(s):
1632048 1522492
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10105966
Journal Name:
Journal of Hydrometeorology
Volume:
20
Issue:
7
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 1449-1471
ISSN:
1525-755X
Publisher:
American Meteorological Society
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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