Magnitude and return period of 2004 hurricane rainfall in Florida

Document Type



The 2004 hurricane season was one of the worst on record for the state of Florida. Four separate storms (Hurricanes / Tropical Storms) made landfall on or near the state. These storms included: Charley (August 10 – 15), Frances (August 26 – September 6), Ivan (September 3 - 18), and Jeanne (September 14 – 27). The impact of the storms resulted in billions of dollars in damage and widespread flooding. Cumulative rainfall is reviewed for two storms with similar paths, Frances and Jeanne. Using hourly rainfall data, the maximum cumulative rainfall amounts were determined for various rainfall durations (1, 2, 6, 12, 24, and 48-hour) and return periods (1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100-year) were assigned to the rainfall durations. Maximum cumulative rainfall, from Frances and Jeanne, for the 24-hour period was then compared to the synthetic 100-year return period design storm [Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Type II distribution] used in the region for floodplain determination and detention design. The results show that 24-hour hurricane rainfall exceeded the 100-year return period design storm and that the shape of the cumulative distribution of the hurricane rainfall is somewhat similar to the shape of the synthetic rainfall distribution.


Florida; Hurricanes; Rainfall


Environmental Sciences | Meteorology


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