Precipitation extremes at the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, California

TitlePrecipitation extremes at the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, California
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1990
AuthorsAzuma, D. L., and Berg N. H.
Conference Name58th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 58th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1990
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationSacramento, California
KeywordsCentral Sierra Snow Laboratory, Precipitation extremes, Sierra Nevada

Information on return periods of precipitation in snow country is essential to a variey of engineering tasks--including estimating structural loading, designing reservoir capacity, and forecasting runoff. Using records from 1899 to 1988, extreme value theory was used to develop 10-, 20-, 50-, and 100-year return periods for precipitation during 1- to 10-day intervals at the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory in California's Sierra Nevada. Precipitation ranged from over 14 cm for the 10-year return period and 1-day interval to almost 70 cm for the 100-year return period and 10-day interval. During the 89-year daily precipitation record, mean daily precipitation was 11 cm but ranged up to 118.2 cm for individual days. Mean precipitation was 38-40 cm for many of the longer (12+ days) events and was over 78 cm for one 10-day event. Precipitation is common at this site with 1-, 2-, and 3-day precipitation periods occurring an average of 25 times annually.