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Relabeling Extreme Rainfall Events so the Public Understands Their Severity

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Explaining how multiple 100-year storms can occur in less than 100 years to the public is difficult since they do not understand and refuse to accept that this can happen. Other natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes) are not rated using recurrence intervals, but use simple scales instead like the Richter scale, Fujita scale, and Saffir-Simpson scale, respectively. The public understands the ratings for these other events since they use a simple scale to rate the severity of the event, not the rarity of the event.

This paper proposes to re-rate rain storms, building on existing hydrologic science, but changing the designation from a recurrence interval to one that is more general in description, similar to the rating of other natural disasters. The new scale rates the rain event on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how severe the storm was, making it more understandable to the public.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2013

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