Journal article

A case study of a "Dragon-King": The 1999 Venezuelan catastrophe

We describe a failure of standard extremal models to account for a catastrophic rainfall event in the coastal regions of Venezuela on 14-16 December 1999, due both to inaccurate tail modelling and to an inadequate treatment of clusters of rare events. We investigate this failure, using a Dirichlet mixture model to approximate a form of moving maximum process that should provide accurate models for wide classes of extremal behaviour. This so-called M3-Dirichlet model may be fitted using an EM algorithm, and provides a reasonable explanation for the properties of the data, in terms of a seasonally-varying mixture of types of extreme rainfall clusters.

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