Back to the Future: Satellite Precipitation as a Tool to Reanalyze Hurricane Floyd and Forecast Probabilities of Extreme Rainfall in Eastern North Carolina
In order to answer questions about how much rain fell during Hurricane Floyd and its input into rivers, researchers looked at satellite, river gauge, and radar data. They took a radar map and put it into a GIS with watershed maps and the other data. The location of rainfall was tracked through gauges, and much of it was interpolated. The extent of the storm totals were compared using these different ways measuring rainfall. For the Tar River, rainfall input measures were close to the gauge measures. Researchers used a calculation in places where there weren’t gauges or radar to estimate discharge. Greenville received 22.9 inches of rain during Floyd. Satellites measured rainfall over the ocean to get the full picture of rainfall during a storm. Extreme rainfall events are increasing due to climate change. The 1999 season was not the highest, but part of an upward trend. Prior to Dennis and Floyd, there was an extended pool of warm ocean water, and this led to increased rainfall. Rainfall rankings are a measure of relative climate change and show that Floyd was extreme in the global sense. Similar global rankings that include storms from the past may be helpful in predicting the future.