Hurricanes and tropical storms: A necessary evil to ensure water supply?


Journal Article

Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Several parts of the globe including Southeast North America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Australia, and China are often hit by hurricanes and tropical storms (HTSs), which can deliver a large amount of rainfall within a period of a few days. Although HTSs are mostly studied as disaster agents, considering that they occur during the period when water supply systems are generally depleted, it is important to ascertain their potential contributions toward sustaining water supply. Using the Lake Michie–Little River reservoir system that supplies water to the city of Durham (North Carolina) as a representative test case, we implemented an integrated watershed and reservoir management model, supported by publicly available observations, to evaluate the extent to which HTSs impact water storages. Results indicate that HTSs can have a significant impact on reservoir water storage, with their effects being felt for more than a year for some storms. The impact on reservoir water storage is identified to be primarily controlled by 3 factors, namely, streamflow response size from HTSs, storage in the reservoir right before the event, and streamflow succeeding the event response to HTS (henceforth referred as postevent streamflow). Although the impact of streamflow response size on water storage is generally proportional to its magnitude, initial water storage in the reservoir and postevent streamflow have a nonmonotonic influence on water storage. As all the 3 identified controls are a function of antecedent hydrologic conditions and meteorological forcings, these 2 factors indirectly influence the impact of HTS on water storage in a reservoir. The identification of controlling factors and assessment of their influence on reservoir response will further facilitate implementation of more accurate estimation and prediction frameworks for within-year reservoir operations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zhang, M; Chen, X; Kumar, M; Marani, M; Goralczyk, M

Published Date

  • November 30, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 24

Start / End Page

  • 4414 - 4428

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1099-1085

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0885-6087

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/hyp.11371

Citation Source

  • Scopus