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We still don’t know how to talk about floods
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60 inches of rain fell from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, shattering U.S. storm record

Update, Sept. 22 and 29

New data from the National Weather Service shows that a weather station near Nederland, Tex. about 10 miles north of Port Arthur received 60.58 inches of rain from Hurricane Harvey. Another weather station, about five miles to the southeast of Nederland near Groves, Tex. registered 60.54 inches during the storm.

All rainfalls totals from this storm are still preliminary and require review. But, if verified, these observations would mark the two greatest single-storm rainfall totals on record in the U.S., including Hawaii.

Related stories: Harvey is a 1,000-year flood event unprecedented in scale | We still don’t know how to talk about floods

(This story, first updated on Sept. 22, was revised on Sept. 29 to amend the totals for Nederland and Groves, Tex. based on new numbers provided by the National Weather Service.)

Original post from Aug. 29

The rain from Harvey is in a class of its own. The storm has unloaded over 50 inches of rain east of Houston, the greatest amount ever recorded in the Lower 48 states from a single storm. And it’s still raining.

John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist, said a rain gauge near Mont Belvieu at Cedar Bayou, about 40 miles east of Houston, had registered 51.9 inches of rain through late Tuesday afternoon. This total exceeds the previous record of 48 inches set during tropical cyclone Amelia in Medina, Texas in 1978.

Link: Rainfall totals from Harvey

All rainfalls totals from this storm are still preliminary and require review. But, if verified, this amount breaks not only the Texas state rainfall record but also the record for the remaining Lower 48 states.

What the flooding and rescues of Hurricane Harvey look like, in videos

Hawaii has logged isolated reports of greater amounts at high elevations from tropical systems, but the footprint from Harvey in Southeast Texas is much larger. It has produced at least three feet of rain over most of the Houston region, affecting more than 5 million people.

“The 3-to-4 day rainfall totals of greater than 40 inches (possible 50 inches in locations surrounding Santa Fe and Dickinson) are simply mind-blowing that has lead to the largest flood in Houston-Galveston history,” the National Weather Service office serving Houston wrote.

From the perspective of the amount of volume unloaded in the United States from a single storm, Harvey has no rival.

Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow shares what's next for the battered Texas coast and tracks Harvey's path toward Southwestern Louisiana. (Video: Claritza Jimenez, Jason Samenow/The Washington Post)

Nielsen-Gammon found Harvey’s total rainfall concentrated over a 20,000-square-mile area represents nearly 19 times the daily discharge of the Mississippi River, by far the most of any tropical system ever recorded.

Texas flood disaster: Harvey has unloaded 9 trillion gallons of water

The Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin at Madison determined that many areas of Southeast Texas have received rain that is expected to come around only once every 1,000 years (or having a 0.1 percent probability of occurrence), assuming a stationary climate.

This is truly an epic storm.

Houston residents evacuate their homes amid Harvey flooding after a reservoir spilled over for the first time in history. (Video: Dalton Bennett, Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

More on Hurricane Harvey

Harvey’s forecast was good — but it shows where progress can be made

GRAPHIC: Harvey’s impact

GRAPHIC: A close-up look at the flooding in Houston

Trump is heading to Texas while a full-on rescue is still underway

Dams are overflowing for the first time in their history

Snakes, gators and fire ants are alive and well in Harvey’s flood waters