Houston forecast: ‘Unprecedented’ 50 inches of rain

By Mike Murphy
Market Watch

National Weather Service warns catastrophic flooding to continue for days

A stranded motorist escapes floodwaters on Interstate 225 in Houston on Sunday.

Houston usually gets about 50 inches of rain a year. It might get that — or more — this week.

Calling the downpour from Hurricane Harvey “unprecedented,” the National Weather Service on Sunday warned that areas around Houston may exceed 50 inches of rainfall, a record for Texas.

“The breadth and intensity of this rainfall is beyond anything experienced before. Catastrophic flooding is now underway and expected to continue for days,” the NWS said in a statement.

Some areas of Texas have already seen 27 inches of rain since Thursday. It’s already the wettest August in Houston history, with 22.99 inches, a total that may more than double by the time Harvey dies down.

On Sunday, Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long told the Washington Post that Harvey is “probably the worst disaster” Texas has ever seen.

To put the rainfall total in perspective, Seattle averages 37 inches of rain a year, Atlanta gets about 50 inches a year, and Miami, Fla., receives about 62 inches a year, according to Weather.com.

The U.S. record for rainfall from a tropical storm or hurricane is 48 inches, from Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978, according to Weather.com. That storm hit Corpus Christi, Texas, and moved west through San Antonio. Texas has had two other storms that brought 40-plus inches of rain: Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979 and Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, which caused $9 billion in damage.


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