Intense Storms and the Runoff Coefficient

by W. Edward Nute, Nute Engineering, San Rafael, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Forum '86: World Water Issues in Evolution


During prolonged, intense storms the runoff coefficient increases in value and approaches one irrespective of the vegetation and soil characteristics of the watershed. As the runoff coefficient increases, the amount of storm water increases and can overwhelm storm drains and flood control facilities. As a second phenomenon, runoff from intense storms can also carry a great deal of silt and debris which can plug storm drains and render them useless. In sizing storm drain facilities, consideration should be given to using a runoff coefficient of one. In addition, storm drains should be expected to fail under certain conditions, and the streets in subdivisions should be designed to act as overflow scuppers and house floor levels should be set high enough to prevent substantial property damage in the event of such a failure.

Subject Headings: Storms | Runoff | Soil properties | Storm sewers | Rain water | Rainfall-runoff relationships | Hydraulic structures | Stormwater management

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