Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

A triangular model of dimensionless runoff producing rainfall hyetographs in Texas

January 1, 2003

A synthetic triangular hyetograph for a large data base of Texas rainfall and runoff is needed. A hyetograph represents the temporal distribution of rainfall intensity at a point or over a watershed during a storm. Synthetic hyetographs are estimates of the expected time distribution for a design storm and principally are used in small watershed hydraulic structure design. A data base of more than 1,600 observed cumulative hyetographs that produced runoff from 91 small watersheds (generally less than about 50 km2) was used to provide statistical parameters for a simple triangular shaped hyetograph model. The model provides an estimate of the average hyetograph in dimensionless form for storm durations of 0 to 24 hours and 24 to 72 hours. As a result of this study, the authors concluded that the expected dimensionless cumulative hyetographs of 0 to 12 hour and 12 to 24 hour durations were sufficiently similar to be combined with minimal information loss. The analysis also suggests that dimensionless cumulative hyetographs are independent of the frequency level or return period of total storm depth and thus are readily used for many design applications. The two triangular hyetographs presented are intended to enhance small watershed design practice in applicable parts of Texas.