Overland Flow from Time-Distributed Rainfall

by Allen T. Hjelmfelt, Jr., (M.ASCE), Hydr. Engr.; United States Dept. of Agric., Science and Education Administration, Agric. Research North Central Region, Watershed Research Unit, 207 Business Loop East, Columbia, Mo. 65201,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 2, Pg. 227-238

Document Type: Journal Paper


The influence of time-varying rainfall on overland flow is investigated. The kinematic wave equations for turbulent flow (across a plane, impermeable surface) are solved using a time-varying rainfall appropriate for thunderstorms. The peak discharge is shown to be a function of surface length, total precipitation, storm duration, and time to equilibrium for rainfall of constant intensity. For rainfall durations equal or less than the time-of-concentration, there is little difference between peak discharges estimated using time-varying rainfall and rainfall of constant intensity. For rainfall of long relative duration, the thunderstorm distribution gives much higher peak discharges.

Subject Headings: Rainfall duration | Rainfall intensity | Storms | Water discharge | Rainfall | Flow duration | Overland flow | Kinematic waves

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