Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
10 May 2021

Linking Flood Frequency With Mesoscale Convective Systems in the US



Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) with larger rain areas and higher rainfall intensity than non-MCS events can produce severe flooding. Flooding occurrences associated with MCS and non-MCS rainfall in the US east of 110°W are examined by linking a high-resolution MCS data set and reported floods in the warm season (April-August) between 2007 and 2017. MCSs account for the majority of slow-rising and hybrid floods, while non-MCS rainfall explains about half of flash floods in July and August as individual thunderstorms occur frequently in the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains. The event-total rainfall area of MCSs is the dominant factor of flood occurrences: MCSs with greater rainfall areas tend to produce more floods. While not related to flood frequency, propagating MCSs tend to produce flash floods with longer durations. These established links can improve our confidence in interpreting flood risks and their future changes due to changes in MCS characteristics with warming.

“Linking Flood Frequency With Mesoscale Convective Systems In The Us”. 2021. Geophysical Research Letters 48. doi:10.1029/2021gl092546.
Funding Program Area(s)