Infiltration is a key process controlling runoff, but varies depending on antecedent conditions. This study provides estimates on initial conditions for urban permeable surfaces via continuous simulation of the infiltration capacity using historical rain data. An analysis of historical rainfall records show that accumulated rainfall prior to large rain events does not depend on the return period of the event. Using an infiltration-runoff model we found that for a typical large rain storm, antecedent conditions in general lead to reduced infiltration capacity both for sandy and clayey soils and that there is substantial runoff for return periods above 1–10 years.

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