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Recent data sets for three meteorological phenomena with the potential to inflict damage on SRS facilities - tornadoes, straight winds, and heavy precipitation - are analyzed using appropriate statistical techniques to estimate occurrence probabilities for these events in the future. Summaries of the results for DOE-mandated return periods and comparisons to similar calculations performed in 1998 by Weber, et al., are given. Using tornado statistics for the states of Georgia and South Carolina, we calculated the probability per year of any location within a 2⁰ square area surrounding SRS being struck by a tornado (the ‘strike’ probability) and the probability that any point will experience winds above set thresholds. The strike probability was calculated to be 1.15E-3 (1 chance in 870) per year and wind speeds for DOE mandated return periods of 50,000 years, 125,000 years, and 1E+7 years (USDOE, 2012) were estimated to be 136 mph, 151 mph and 221 mph, respectively. In 1998 the strike probability for SRS was estimated to be 3.53 E-4 and the return period wind speeds were 148 mph every 50,000 years and 180 mph every 125,000 years. A 1E+7 year tornado wind speed was not calculated in 1998; however a 3E+6 year windmore » speed was 260 mph. The lower wind speeds resulting from this most recent analysis are largely due to new data since 1998, and to a lesser degree differences in the models used. By contrast, default tornado wind speeds taken from ANSI/ANS-2.3-2011 are somewhat higher: 161 mph for return periods of 50,000 years, 173 mph every 125,000 years, and 230 mph every 1E+7 years (ANS, 2011). Although the ANS model and the SRS models are very similar, the region defined in ANS 2.3 that encompasses the SRS also includes areas of the Great Plains and lower Midwest, regions with much higher occurrence frequencies of strong tornadoes. The SRS straight wind values associated with various return periods were calculated by fitting existing wind data to a Gumbel distribution, and extrapolating the values for any return period from the tail of that function. For the DOE mandated return periods, we expect straight winds of 123 mph every 2500 years, and 132mph every 6250 years at any point within the SRS. These values are similar to those from the W98 report (which also used the Gumbel distribution for wind speeds) which gave wind speeds of 115mph and 122 mph for return periods of 2500 years and 6250 years, respectively. For extreme precipitation accumulation periods, we compared the fits of three different theoretical extreme-value distributions, and in the end decided to maintain the use of the Gumbel distribution for each period. The DOE mandated 6-hr accumulated rainfall for return periods of 2500 years and 6250 years was estimated as 7.8 inches and 8.4 inches, respectively. For the 24- hr rainfall return periods of 10,000 years and 25,000 years, total rainfall estimates were 10.4 inches and 11.1 inches, respectively. These values are substantially lower than comparable values provided in the W98 report. This is largely a consequence of the W98 use of a different extreme value distribution with its corresponding higher extreme probabilities.« less
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54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES Tornadoes, Extreme Gusts and Precipitation