Modeling extreme precipitation for Colorado's Front Range

Dan Cooley, Graduate Student with the University of Colorado, Boulder

To aid with the understanding of potential flooding along Colorado's Front Range, we are producing a map of extreme precipitation return levels. We model daily precipitation above a high threshold at 56 weather stations with a Generalized Pareto Distribution (GPD). Each station's GPD parameters are modeled within a Bayesian hierarchical structure allowing us to pool all the stations into one model. In addition, the model estimates regression coefficients and spatial parameters which are then used to interpolate for the entire region.

In addition to aiding flood planning, this model provides meteorological insight to how extreme precipitation behaves for this diverse geographical region.