Why is there a lag time between a storm and peak flow in a stream?
There may be several factors which contribute to this, but the main one is probably as follows:
The longer it rains, the more water soaks into the ground. However, it takes time for the ground to become saturated. When it does, more water is available to run over the land instead of soaking into it. This obviously increases the amount of water in the streams (both from the increased runoff as well as from the saturated ground which is trying to also drain into the streams).
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