Tropical Storm Harvey has dropped more than 11 trillion gallons of water on Texas, triggering catastrophic, unprecedented flooding in the Houston area. The rains have broken all-time records, exceeding the rainfall totals seen during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.
There may be no parallel available to any other rainstorm in U.S. history, based on the number of people affected, amount of water involved, and other factors, meteorologists have warned.
Due to its wide geographic scope across America’s 4th-largest city, the ensuing flood disaster may rank as one of the most, if not the most, expensive natural disaster in U.S. history.
According to Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at WeatherBell, a private forecasting firm, there is still up to 16 trillion gallons more rain likely to fall in the state, based on forecasts from the National Weather Service (NWS).
The Weather Service office in Houston reported just over 2 feet of rain in 24 hours between 7 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday morning, causing August to become the wettest month on record there. Forecast totals call for isolated rainfall amounts of up to 50 inches before Harvey finally releases its grip on the Lone Star state late this week. If this comes to fruition, it would be the greatest rainfall totals from a tropical storm or hurricane in U.S. history.
Maue estimates that a total of around 25 trillion gallons may be the final statewide rainfall total for Harvey, which is such a unique storm due to its slow-moving nature that the NWS has nearly run out of superlatives describing it.