Rainfall Intensity

Precipitation intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) information is necessary for the specific locality in which the Rational Method will be used.  In general this is done using either HYDRO-35 or NOAA Atlas 2 data.  Using the IDF Curves… button (for either basins or outlets), WMS can be used to develop curves from either of these two data sources, statistically derived data, or you can directly enter an i value if you typically compute it in another way or already know the design value you want to use.

The IDF Computation dialog (shown below) can be used to create a series of T-year IDF curves from HYDRO-35, NOAA Atlas 2, or user defined data.

The type of data that will be used to create the IDF curves is specified with the radio group options in the upper left portion of the dialog.  The Define Data button can then be used to bring a dialog which allows you to enter the following values, depending on the data type specified:

Once the specified data has been entered the corresponding IDF-curves will be generated and plotted in the graphics window of the IDF Computation dialog.  You can then specify the recurrence interval you want to use for analysis by selecting it in the text list window in the upper right portion of the dialog.  After selecting the recurrence interval, the appropriate curve in the plot window will be displayed in red.  Finally, an intensity value, i, is determined by specifying a time of concentration as outlined below and then clicking on the Intensity button.  When clicking on the Done button for the IDF Computation dialog, the computed intensity value will automatically be updated in the edit field for i of the Rational Method dialog.

Computing the Time of Concentration

A time of concentration value needs to be entered in order to determine the intensity value to be used in the Rational Method equation.  This value can either be entered manually or computed from the overland flow length, Manning’s n, and slope.  One equation used to compute the time of concentration from basin geometric parameters is the kinematic wave equation:


This method has been adopted by the FHWA for general use, but other equations can be used as defined elsewhere

Related Topics:
Entering Rational Method Parameters

Basin Data

Outlet Data