Variations in the Intensity and Spatial Extent of Tropical Cyclone Precipitation

Touma, Danielle; Stevenson, Samantha; Camargo, Suzana J.; Horton, Daniel E.; Diffenbaugh, Noah S.

The intensity and spatial extent of tropical cyclone precipitation (TCP) often shapes the risk posed by landfalling storms. Here we provide a comprehensive climatology of landfalling TCP characteristics as a function of tropical cyclone strength, using daily precipitation station data and Atlantic U.S. landfalling tropical cyclone tracks from 1900 to 2017. We analyze the intensity and spatial extent of ≥1 mm/day TCP (Z1) and ≥50 mm/day TCP (Z50) over land. We show that the highest median intensity and largest median spatial extent of Z1 and Z50 occur for major hurricanes that have weakened to tropical storms, indicating greater flood risk despite weaker wind speeds. We also find some signs of TCP change in recent decades. In particular, for major hurricanes that have weakened to tropical storms, Z50 intensity has significantly increased, indicating possible increases in flood risk to coastal communities in more recent years.


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Also Published In

Geophysical Research Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
February 18, 2020