Texas state climatologist: 'Texas just broke all-time contiguous U.S. rainfall record'

The center of #Harvey is well-defined but consists of just a swirl of clouds, no t-storms. All of the extreme convection is over Houston – Dr. Ryan Maue via Twitter

By Dr. John Neilsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist who writes in via email –

Based on my not-fully-vetted record compilation, Harris County Flood Control District gauge #110 just broke the all-time record for greatest 3-day total at a regular reporting station in the United States (outside of Hawaii).

The August 26-28 total is 36.80”, with 4.5 hours and about 2” still to come.

The previous record is from 1997 at Dauphin Island, Alabama, 36.14”.  The record at any non-station remains 48” at Medina, Texas, August 1978, and the Hawaii regular reporting station record remains 48.75” at Honokane in 1942.

Total rainfall in 20,000 sq mi area over 72 hours, expressed as multiples of the average daily discharge of the Mississippi River (call them Mississippi-days), top United States storms:

18.8 Harvey

14.8 Beulah 1967 TX/MX

13.9 1899 TX

13.2 Georges 1998 FL

12.6 1994 TX

12.6 Floyd, NC

12.0 1940 (May) LA

11.3 1940 (Nov) TX

10.1 2010 TN

9.7 Alberto 1994 GA

Notes: Harvey values from AHPS 12Z Aug 25-12Z Aug 28, calculation assistance by Brent McRoberts.  Other values drawn from analyses by Bill Kappel, Applied Weather Associates.

I will update this story with final data when it is available. -Anthony

UPDATE: (edited for clarity) Since writing in a couple of hours ago, the total has increased, here is the latest as of 8PM PDT today:  38.64″ for the three-day total. And, 40.76″ since Harvey started making rain 4 days ago.

UPDATE2: The final number for a 3 day total is: 41.64″. And, 43.76″ since Harvey started making rain 4 days ago. See updated graph below:

Source: https://www.harriscountyfws.org/GageDetail/Index/110?span=7%20Days&v=rainfall

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August 28, 2017 8:13 pm

Repeat from an e-mail just sent:
When all the dust settles (er, I mean all the water subsides), this will properly be titled a “Super Storm” as opposed to Sandy, which covered a widespread area, yet barely made Cat one, and hit NYC over substandard landfill.

Reply to  tomwys1
August 29, 2017 12:23 am

Not “properly” as there is no such official classification.

Reply to  tomwys1
August 29, 2017 6:17 am

At New Jersey landfall the maximum sustained winds recorded for Sandy were 55 knots. Well below Category 1 wind threshold of 64 knots.

Reply to  tomwys1
August 29, 2017 2:15 pm

‘all-time’ – in the Instrumental Record, for sure.
In Texas that is probably over 150 years; is it 200 years?
My sympathies to all those flooded out – and especially to families who have lost loved ones.
Whilst the US is a rich nation – has there been a ‘Just-Giving’ or similar campaign to help those who have lost big time?
Do we know how decades-long droughts ended in the fifth- or second-millennium BC?
Were hurricanes and slow-moving rainstorms involved then?
H/Harvey is/was an awesome and terrible event – but ‘all-time’ suggests a depth of knowledge we simply don’t have – and, most likely will never get.

Reply to  tomwys1
August 29, 2017 2:16 pm

Sandy was a combination of a late season hurricane combined with a separate continental storm moving east all combined with East coast BS.

Reply to  USexpat
August 30, 2017 3:57 am

Yes, Sandy was actually a combination of two powerful storms that met right when Sandy came ashore.

Reply to  TA
August 30, 2017 4:32 am

Plus high tide coinciding with landfall. Storm surge is a beeatch, it is your mother-in-law when high tide is thrown in the mix.

Reply to  tomwys1
August 29, 2017 3:11 pm

Or a super duper storm.

Tom Halla
August 28, 2017 8:15 pm

Lots and lots of rain, and Harvey is back offshore picking up more moisture, so it could get even worse.

August 28, 2017 8:32 pm

‘Texas just broke all-time contiguous U.S. rainfall record for greatest 3-day total at a regular reporting station
Again, fixed. Clearly it’s not the actual record, period, as referenced in this post (48″ in Medina, TX in ’78) and in the “Why Houston Flooding Isn’t a Sign of Climate Change” post (43″ in 24 hours in Houston from TS Claudette in ’79). Omitting very important qualifiers in order to mislead is alarmist tactics.

Phil Rae
Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 28, 2017 8:43 pm

This seems more like Tropical Storm Allison in June 1989…..I was moving house in Houston at the time and, boy, did it rain!!! Harvey is on a larger scale and was a true hurricane but the stall-out is really the problem since all that water is falling in one area.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 28, 2017 8:55 pm

Huh? A different comparison to suit the situation? This is encroaching on appeal to emotion territory. As I already stated, this isn’t the all-time contiguous U.S. rainfall record bar none, but rather the record for the greatest 3-day total at a regular reporting station. Higher records exist outside of regular reporting stations (for total rainfall as well as shorter time period). The source of the rainfall is wholly irrelevant for the record.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 28, 2017 9:06 pm

True it is a different kind of storm.
He has quoted one rain gauge though as indicative of all, when even one day records beat it.
Then alludes to 20,00 sq L where the gauges show nothing like the headline quote.

Living in a flood plain and having experienced 2 at the doorstep in 30 years I sympathize with those in trouble now. The downstream flooding tends to be worse on day 2-3 if hills in the background and that is after it stops raining.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 1:04 am

Ok, I have a stupid question. Why has Harvy stalled? I’ve assumed it has something to do with the high pressure sytems in the middle of the country…and the jet stream is steering those system more or less SE.
I’ve looked at jet stream maps and that looks plausible…yet Harvey should be able to go somewhat NE at least enough to get out of the Gulf..then go into LA, AR, TN, MS, etc. and get into the normal track of dumping rain, but no longer being fed moisture.
And I found this very pretty map of winds at 280 hPa…and sure enough there’s a little blue spot that just not moving fast at all…even in the middle of high level winds.

Robert B
Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 1:37 am

You can’t claim a record for a regular reporting station. Surely for the not-regular- recording stations, the highest could have been missed rather than overestimated.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 2:27 am

Can’t recall a hurricane making landfall, going inland, stopping, then shifting into reverse over land, backing out to the waters it left, then making a 90-degree turn right and head in a difference direction.
This normal?

David A
Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 3:40 am

Yet part of the point of the article was that just because a storm stalls and dumps moisture in one area, does not mean it is more intense.
Did the (48″ in Medina, TX in ’78) and in the “Why Houston Flooding Isn’t a Sign of Climate Change” post (43″ in 24 hours have zero rainfall before or after those 24 hours?
If those were moving faster how much rain did the pour elsewhere?
I just do not see how greater rain in a shorter period is not an equal precedent.
At any rate all rational people must agree that CO2 does not cause storms to stall.

David A
Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 4:03 am

Also, why is not this…
…..The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States,[1] with 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2) inundated up to a depth of 30 feet (9 m)
even on the list?

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 7:29 am

To stl, I want that map on my 60′ flat screen to replace my aquarium and lava lamp. I spent ten minutes checking off each place I’d ever been. Thanks for the link.

Tom in Denver
Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 7:30 am

Just for the record, Tropical storm Allison occurred in June of 2001. Just like Harvey, it stalled over SE Texas, then moved back into the Gulf before it headed NE across La. 40 inches rain in Houston
Tropical storm Frances was in 1998

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 10:55 am

Any time a record has too many qualifiers, it’s a reach. Besides, I’m more interested in the 2 day 13 hours 38 minutes and 12 seconds rainfall record on towns that begin with the letter T.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 1:08 pm

Stalled storms camping on a spot happen. See the Great Hurricane of 1780.
The super eraser storm

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 4:05 pm

Any valid comparison needs to take in the area of rainfall, and some sense of average rain fall over a week. The Total rainfall in 20,000 sq mi area over 72 hours is a reasonable measure.

Reply to  deebodk
August 29, 2017 12:20 am

I didn’t think that added up either.

Reply to  deebodk
August 29, 2017 5:26 am

3 days down, 37 to go (and nights).

August 28, 2017 8:42 pm

Oh dear, , ho hum, the Texas perma-drought seems to have been broken !
A tad damp, by all accounts !

Reply to  AndyG55
August 29, 2017 9:01 am

Unfortunately Andy, some areas in Texas that could use some rain stayed on the dry side. My gauge (non-reporting) showed a bit more than 3 tenths for the three day period. But that’s just the way it is in Texas. BTW, that permanent drought you speak of (i caught the sark) was broken last year–plenty of water in the reservoirs, and no watering bans, which is a good thing–have had the hoses running for much of the month.

Chad Irby
August 28, 2017 8:44 pm

“Texas just broke all-time contiguous U.S. rainfall record for greatest 3-day total at a regular reporting station”
Using the Rule of Too Many Qualifiers, that’s not impressive.
“US rainfall record” is pretty good. “Contiguous?” One strike. “3-day total?” Strike two. “Regular reporting station?” Three strikes and you’re out.
It’s like those car commercials that talk about “Best In Its Class.”*
*Midsize sedans under $22,000, with 4-cylinder engine, in controlled conditions, at a temperature of 43F, with a tailwind

Robert B
Reply to  Chad Irby
August 29, 2017 1:50 am

While on a test bed?

Reply to  Chad Irby
August 29, 2017 1:58 am

-with a tailwind and going downhill 😉

Reply to  Chad Irby
August 29, 2017 3:44 am

Every meaningful measurement has qualifiers. The first one that pops into my mind is STP (Standard Temperature and Pressure) link Without the qualifiers the measurements are meaningless.
When a manufacturer claims that its product is ‘Best in Class’, it doesn’t have to define what the class is or prove its claim. It’s puffery and no reasonable person is expected to take it seriously … and that’s the law.

Reply to  Chad Irby
August 29, 2017 6:25 am

Rainfall occurs over time, so there is always a time qualifier. 1 hour, 1 day, 3 days. It doesn’t matter as long as you are comparing like to like.

August 28, 2017 8:51 pm

UPDATE: Since writing in a couple of hours ago, the total has increased, here is the latest as of 8PM PDT today: 40.76″ since Harvey started making rain, and 38.64″ for the three-day total.

Give the man a cigar.
Fact one the three day total cannot increase it is a 3 day total.
Fact two, the 2.12 cm added on as an after occurred on the 25/8 before the three day total alluded to.
So if you wanted 4 days it already was 40.76 and has not increased since writing in a couple of hours ago.
Look at the dates, man.
Stop being wet alarmist.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 28, 2017 9:11 pm

Sorry, thought I was replying to the article By Dr. John Neilsen-Gammon
In Australia metric, so misadvertent cm, my bad.
Also just noticed that the article said “with 4.5 hours and about 2” still to come.”
When I thought it was a complete 3 day record.
Just having a so so day I guess.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 3:48 am

Sorry, thought I was replying to the article By Dr. John Neilsen-Gammon

So you thought you were trashing someone who was not present , now you know it was our host writing you are “sorry”. You change you tone, message and opinion in relation to who is listening. Nice double standards.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
August 29, 2017 2:31 pm

… and “historic” and “biblical”.

August 28, 2017 8:56 pm

Alvin, Texas, was deluged by 43 inches of rain in 24 hours from July 24-25, 1979, setting an all-time record 24-hour rainfall for the U.S.
The torrential rain fell as Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border before stalling right over Alvin.

So I guess Alvin did not have a ” regular reporting station “?
Note it was also Texas.
Note more fell in 24 hours than in 3 days in gauge #110.

Cliff Hilton
Reply to  angech
August 28, 2017 11:26 pm

I don’t think the shared information from the good Texan is meant to throw a burr in yur saddle angech. Facts are left to history. Well, they used to. Anyway, go easy there, we have a bunch of folks working real hard to keep everyone’s hopes up here. It ain’t over and we need a minute to caught our breath. We’re doing all we can. We’ll take all the volunteers you men can spare. Jacked up trucks and a can do spirit are needed.
And for you believers among this bunch here, a quick prayer, please. God listens fast.

David A
Reply to  Cliff Hilton
August 29, 2017 4:06 am

Sorry, but I saw no burr in the saddle, just a well reasoned statement.

D P Laurable
Reply to  Cliff Hilton
August 29, 2017 4:46 am

Done! Keep well.

August 28, 2017 9:05 pm

Meh. Records are made to be broken. Still has no impact on attribution. Doesn’t implicate the culprit as human released CO2. But, that won’t stop them from rounding up the usual suspect.

August 28, 2017 9:06 pm

That’s more rain than most places get in a year.

Jeff L
Reply to  Rob
August 28, 2017 9:22 pm

or several years here in Colorado

August 28, 2017 9:25 pm

The wettest place in conus is the Olympic peninsula, where annual rainfall is more than 15 feet.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
August 28, 2017 9:25 pm

(The Olympic peninsula is in Washington State.)

Nigel S
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
August 29, 2017 6:56 am

Hoh Rainforest, still got my hat from Hard Rain Cafe. The clues are in the names!

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
August 29, 2017 9:42 am

Seattle in WA state has also broken records this year with not only its wettest winter but now its driest summer – 55 days without rain (18 June – Aug 11) , broken by a minuscule 0.02″ of rain recorded at Seatac on 11 August. Sunny and hot set to continue by Weather Channel as far into future as forecastable. Some of us gardeners are not enjoying this “unprecedented” dryness……

Gary Pearse
August 28, 2017 9:49 pm

Too bad it didn’t head inland to recharge some aquifers. This water will be back in the ocean in several days. California had a drought for a couple of years and when the rains came they just let it flood everything and had insufficient reservoirs to save it for the next drought. This is activism at work, too.

August 28, 2017 9:50 pm

With all that rain concentrated in one small area, is it going to be reflected by lower than normal rainfall in those areas that also receive much of their rain from the same source? Generally over such things tend to average out despite new record highs or lows being set at various locations and that average relationship generally remains intact over time.
If the averages don’t change over time are new record highs or lows of any real significance with respect to the climate?

J Mac
August 28, 2017 10:17 pm

In October 1963, hurricane Flora stalled over Cuba and dropped 100 inches of rain over Santiago de Cuba!
(info from WeatherBell) These ‘extreme’ rainfalls from stalled hurricanes/tropical storms are not ‘unprecedented’. This is what nature does…..

Rab McDowell
August 28, 2017 10:36 pm

A question from a weather watcher farmer.
How much moisture can the atmosphere hold? Normal atmospheric pressure is equivalent to about 34 feet head of water. Looks like Houston has about 4 feet of rain. That’s around one eighth of the total atmospheric mass.
Can the atmosphere hold that much as humidity? Or is it getting continually replenished by new air with high moisture? If so the storm can’t really be ‘stalled’ as new moisture bearing air must be moving in.
Who can enlighten me?

Roger Knights
Reply to  Rab McDowell
August 28, 2017 10:48 pm

It’s been reported that one of the outer bands of the hurricane extended long and deep into the Caribbean and picked up water from there and fed it into the eye; also that there was so much “brown water” on the ground that it was being picked up and recycled down again.

Reply to  Rab McDowell
August 29, 2017 12:00 am

The maximum amount of moisture the air can hold seems to be about 5%.
When they say a storm is stalled, it is not meant to imply that it is no longer spinning.
It means the center of circulation is not moving with respect to the ground surface.
Cyclones, whether mid latitude ones of the tropical variety, of which Harvey is one, draw in air continuously, and that air they are drawing in spirals into the center of circulation and is force to rise, whereupon the moisture condenses and falls out as rain.
All that water was not in the air above the ground the whole time…it is being fed in over time by the circulation.

Reply to  Menicholas
August 29, 2017 12:15 am

BTW, you can easily see in any weather report the actual amount of water in the air at ground level, known as the absolute humidity…this is reported as the parameter known as the dew point.
The highest absolute humidity is reported as about 30 grams of water in a cubic meter of air. This would be a parcel with dew point of 86 which is saturated.
Assuming this water content was in a column of air 3 kilometers high, this would be, check my math, about 9 grams per square centimeter, or nearly 4 inches of water in the column.

Reply to  Menicholas
August 29, 2017 12:32 am

“the actual amount of water in the air at ground level, known as the absolute humidity…”
There is an important qualifier that absolute humidity is water vapor only, not total water. There can be a lot if liquid water droplets in the form of clouds in addition to the water vapor.

Reply to  Rab McDowell
August 29, 2017 12:01 am

…OR the tropical variety…

Reply to  Rab McDowell
August 29, 2017 12:17 am

Note: Higher dew points have been observed, on occasion.
“A dew point of 33 °C (91 °F) was observed at 14:00 EDT on July 12, 1987, in Melbourne, Florida. A dew point of 32 °C (90 °F) has been observed in the United States on at least two other occasions: Appleton, Wisconsin, at 17:00 CDT on July 13, 1995, and New Orleans Naval Air Station at 17:00 CDT on July 30, 1987. A dew point of 35 °C (95 °F) was observed at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, at 15:00 AST on July 8, 2003, which caused the heat index to reach 81 °C (178 °F), the highest value recorded.”

Reply to  Menicholas
August 29, 2017 11:13 am

And when Dhahran gets one of those afternoon inversions where the hot muggy air just sits on the place, you have to head for shelter and cut work times down to 5 minutes on and 20 minutes in the cool, because sweating does nothing but get you wet!
Don’t miss those days.

Reply to  Menicholas
August 30, 2017 4:11 am

“A dew point of 35 °C (95 °F) was observed at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, at 15:00 AST on July 8, 2003, which caused the heat index to reach 81 °C (178 °F), the highest value recorded.”
Good Lord!

Reply to  Rab McDowell
August 29, 2017 4:13 pm

it is more of a conveyor belt of moisture, picked up in the gulf and deposited in Houston.
What most surprised me is that not only did the eye of the storm become stationary, but major rain bands didn’t change position. The rain bands didn’t sweep laterally nearly as much as I would have guessed from the spiral structure of the storm.

Mike McMillan
August 28, 2017 10:37 pm

Still raining here in Houston. Animals lining up outside, two by two, male and female.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Mike McMillan
August 28, 2017 10:50 pm

Here’s a link to a Google search result for “ark replica in Tennessee” (full size).
(Only in America.)

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Roger Knights
August 28, 2017 10:59 pm

I think we’re gonna need the real thing.

Reply to  Roger Knights
August 29, 2017 6:28 am

If it floats, send it down.

Reply to  Roger Knights
August 29, 2017 11:15 am

If you listen to the ads on the radio for that place, you will find its big promoter is an Aussie transplant.

Reply to  Roger Knights
August 29, 2017 4:15 pm

Ironically, Harvey is headed for Memphis.

John M. Ware
Reply to  Roger Knights
August 29, 2017 4:29 pm

I think it’s in Kentucky; look for Answers In Genesis.

Robert Barrow
August 28, 2017 11:39 pm

There was an unofficial report of some fifty inches in the county where I reside in the Texas Hill Country a few years back. Back in the late fifties I found a little book in the college library devoted to excessive rainfalls recorded in Texas that ran back quite a few years. I recall seeing more than one or two in the neighborhood of thirty to thirty six inches. I experienced a rather good example of what rain a hurricane could put down in 1941. I was four years old. After watching what the tropic Gulf has to offer and aware of some of what has been recorded of earlier examples, it seems to me that a number of different hurricanes have some superlative or another to offer. Hurricanes with some superlative quality or other are not to be unexpected. Duration, intensity, tornadoes spawned, tornado severity, rain produced, extent, irregularitys in path are part of a list of characteristics that are encountered.
I have felt pretty ho-hum over all about this one. the feeling enhanced by the scare words being bandied about. Certainly every hurricane and other lesser creatures inhabiting tropical weather deserve serious attention, whether one lives high and dry or in risky locations. Like a car or many other factors in our daily lives, inattention and careless regard can kill before, during or after a dangerous encounter. I noted that the intensity by which the hurricane is reported is not necessarily the best representation of the effective intensity. In what little I have seen of reported measured wind speeds, the maximums ran around a hundred miles per hour give or take a few. I saw one that reached the one hundred and thirty or so region and one that ran a
little less. Even if more turn up with the maximum level, it is likely even more will turn up with the lower maximums keeping to the general pattern already observed. Not all storms of a given intensity are equal in their being troublesome, nor or the representations made of them necessarily a good guide as to the actual destructive productivity the storm brings.
The near level Texas coastal plains are fairly tolerant of high rainfalls with respect to troubling its human inhabitants. Lacking much topographic profile, the rivers and bayous tend to have fairly narrow flood planes. The lack of elevations worth much notice does mean that a goodly rainfall
will be slow to drain away and offer some percentage of its measure to rise above the surface while it spreads out to draining channels and surfaces less impacted. In the wake of the hurricane of 1941 I recall over full ditches and a few inches of water to wade through, as my family retrieved items that got blown about and looked over our upside down cow shed whose rat population was meeting with our Doberman Pincher. Hurricanes punctuate the memories of even a four year old, who experience them.
Generally speaking a rainfall of say 12 inches will not produce 12 inches of water to wade through on the coastal prairie. The depth it attains will be an expression of how long it has
to spread out into lesser affected areas and drainages, before reinforcements arrive ( if they arrive ) and how much upstream traffic is working to slow down the emptying of tributary drainages or even backing them up. Fortunately the ultimate disposal of such flooding rains is not far away into that great rainwater sink, the bays and nearby Gulf of Mexico. The Hurricane bashed Gulf can present the problem of storm surge that also slows drainage or backs it up inland flood plains. I lived for over sixty years at an elevation of less than 30 feet. That was high
enough that the nearby Galveston Bay never even threatened to come into our house from even
Carla which infamously inundated a great deal of low lying housing housing with as much as sixteen feet of storm surge.
This storm has the potential of having ruined more automobiles and affected more Texans with
interrupted routines than any other. It has enough attachable superlatives to make it notable. But it does not impress me as outstripping all other hurricanes that have come to my attention either directly or through report. It is just the latest opportunity for the hyper excitable to exercise their hobby whether for fun or profit.
Changes have come to the region along with the rest of hurricane country that enhances the damage potential over what it once was. Not only does this involve the act of inflated population and economics, but it involves changes in construction practices. Low concrete slab foundation has replaced the usual older block foundations that once prevailed. The houses built in the 20th century usually were set upon blocks ranging from a few inches to a foot or slightly more. Whole subdivisions are at a greater risk of minor structure flooding due to their lower elevation in conditions that would not affect the older generation. And the more modest transportation infrastructure in earlier times did not contribute as much barrier to drainage and surface spreading that we see now. In Houston a stretch of Interstate 10 near Buffalo Bayou was constructed with a low profile to enable cross streets to pass overhead with out more expensive raised overpasses. That this stretch of the highway regularly becomes a flooded trap for automobiles is not unexpected. The same is true of many other overpass intersections on
a more limited scale.
In built up urban development the level above flood plain forgiveness is highly abbreviated by the street and building obstruction to natural relief from flooding rain falls. While often enough engineering planning takes note of such features and acts accordingly, this is not always the case. My brother a scant few hundred yards from a deep, wide flood control ditch had sixteen inches of water in his slab foundationed house. The curb and gutter construction of the neighborhood streets were designed to handle an inch an hour of rain fall. This is an insane limitation to use in a location where the annual average is around forty five inches, recalling that
averages in nature are formed from extremes and are not reliable limits for a engineered margin of safety.
Harris County has an impressive history of flooding of the sort we are seeing now, at least in kind if not total extent- – – a serious enough history that a governmental agency was considered as a necessary remedy, the Harris County Flood Control District. At one time or another a more localized rainfall has produced very similar scenes of flooding as we have now. This agency has added many works to preexisting flood control measures such as Addicks and Barker dams, dams that formed no lakes worthy of naming, but only came into play when high rainfalls occurred. Otherwise, they impounded dirt, grass and trees which serve as parks. The whole county is laced by flood control works with deep, wide ditches, and stream embankments concreted to speed along to Galveston bay flood waters that concrete, asphalt and huge roof acreages prevent from taking more benign natural courses.
South East Texans once had some need to develop the web feet ascribed to neighbors over the Louisiana border or a supply of rubberized knee boots. Now, from time to time higher boots seem more suitable with the wonderful improvements that have been made to the landscape.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Robert Barrow
August 29, 2017 12:06 am

so you are saying that there is a clear and expected precedent to unprecedented events taking place?

Robert Barrow
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 29, 2017 11:04 am

It seems safe to say that you have clearly and correctly summed up human perceptions in cases predecessor claims. Predecession is most often an absence of knowledge, gained by what ever means. Ignorance is not the only culprit.
Willfulness, habit, and forgetfulness have chips in the game as well. A basic capability of our minds is to perform treacherously, as we attempt to deal with our lives. Language is a squishy thing. One man’s predecessor is another man’s unrelated and very different event. He will provide excruciatingly detailed evidence why. It is a fairly meaningless word with a high level of emotional utility. Unprecedented fairly well equates with ignorance and other human failings.
My wife just made an unprescedented request – – – a true statement, if I keep the time frame tight enough. language is a squishy thing indeed. And so are its users and their intentions. And unintentions.
Precedence in the sense of a foreshadowing example has literary uses, but utterly fails as applied to measured and exacting descriptions of physical reality. Except at the subatomic, atomic, and perhaps molecular level all events are unprecedented, as no two are exactly alike. It is the human mind that produces the matching of patterns. And in the sense that even subatomic events taking place in exactly the same location seems highly unlikely. However, I am only making an argument; and, the reality of argument is that it is a usually harmless past time.
Of l my contacts with people in Harris County, and East Texas, only one individual has a heavily flooded home. I don’t know how close its location is to Cedar Bayou. Others I know live within
a half or at most a mile away and are not flooded. Except under the influence of elevated stream level due to rain, Cedar Bayou is tidal with Galveston Bay. Storm surge can play a role. However, this is no Carla level event with its up to sixteen feet of surge.
And I appreciate the brevity of the paraphrase and deplore its absence in my own case.

Reply to  Robert Barrow
August 29, 2017 12:24 am

Here in Florida we had a prolonged dry spell from last October until late May of this year.
We then had a stream of moisture, not a name storm or even a frontal system, drop about two feet of rain over the course of a few days.
Every drop soaked right in to our sandy soil…on my property anyway.
Note that these rains came almost to the minute when water restrictions were put in place.
We have had heavy rains for the past week. Schools in this part of the state are closed due to flooding, although it is not reported outside our area.
I got lucky…just a few puddles at my place, but other portions of Lee county are submerged.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Menicholas
August 29, 2017 4:38 am

Yes, Bradenton and Sarasota experienced flooding from the steady rain. This is a very good example of why averages are so misleading. In the end, our rain fall will be about average but most of it came in a very short period of time.
As an aside, my property was removed from the AE flood zone last November when FEMA updated the maps and my prepaid flood insurance expired Aug 22. So I had a good chuckle thinking wouldn’t it have been ironic that the day after my flood insurance expired and I no longer was required to renew it (which I didn’t) that I might get flooded. But it never floods in my area, and after this last week I am pretty sure it never will.

Reply to  Menicholas
August 29, 2017 6:29 am

Did they lift the water restrictions?

Reply to  Robert Barrow
August 29, 2017 12:26 am

Of course, I purposely bought a place underlain by many feet of yellow sand, in the highest part of this section of Florida.

August 29, 2017 12:03 am

Some 3 day totals from Australia- all in Queensland, all from tropical cyclones:
Orkabie West Hill 966mm 28/29/30 March 2017
Koumala 1385.3mm 22/23/24 January 1918 and another 243.8mm for 4 days
Plane Creek Mill 1306.2mm 25/26/27 February 1913
Tully Sugar Mill 1327.3mm 10/11/12 February 1927
And the daddy of them all:
Crohamhurst 1690.5mm 1/2/3 February 1893 and another 273.3mm on the 4th
One inch = 25.4mm.

John M. Ware
Reply to  kenskingdom
August 29, 2017 4:36 pm

So Crohamhurst got just short of 2 meters, or 79 inches (6 feet 7 inches) Feb 1-4 1893. That’s a lot of rain!

August 29, 2017 12:04 am

So best wishes to all in the danger zone in Texas.

August 29, 2017 12:36 am

There are places we can live where we know we will not get flooded.
And in other places, we know, or should know, that there will be floods, and sometimes the floods will be epic.
I am not unsympathetic, but that part of the world is well known to get bad floods fairly often.

Joel O’Bryan
August 29, 2017 1:06 am

W: What are Climate Liars gonna do?
A: Lie,
They use the sciency word “shape”.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
August 29, 2017 2:35 am

Which part was a lie?

David A
Reply to  Simon
August 29, 2017 3:54 am

The part relating an historical zero increase in ACE to CO2 in one storm that is very questionable as a Cat 4, and was much weaker then any other CAT 4.
The only thing unusually about Harvey was and is its very slow path around a very flood probe area.

Keith J
Reply to  Simon
August 29, 2017 5:54 am

The lie is warm air caused warm water. Sea water is warmed by radiation and is cooled by evaporation.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Simon
August 29, 2017 10:28 am

It is not warmer in Texas, Louisiana, or the Gulf of Mexico than 20 years ago despite the steady pCO2 increase.
Globally, when Polar regions are included, yes. But not in that region.
Anyone who argues climate change is responsible for Harvey’s rainfall totals is simply a huckster.

Schrodinger's Cat
August 29, 2017 1:52 am

The BBC in its morning flagship “Today” program has been promoting climate change as the the cause of the severity of Harvey. Within an hour they got a judge in Houston and Professor Hoskins (Grantham Institute) to provide extensive support for the idea as well as pushing the worldwide acceptance of the settled science, etc.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
August 29, 2017 4:39 am

Well, we all knew that was coming.

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
August 29, 2017 6:10 am

So climate change belief is in law?

Reply to  Resourceguy
August 30, 2017 4:20 am

“So climate change belief is in law?”
No, it’s just that some judges are just as susceptible to being fooled about CAGW as any other profession.

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
August 29, 2017 6:18 am

Did the “experts” explain how climate change causes hurricanes to stall out and reverse course?

Reply to  Resourceguy
August 29, 2017 6:07 pm

I bet they can put out just as entertaining a little cartoon as the CIA did to “explain” TWA 800. I’ll have the coconut oil popped popcorn ready to watch whatever ignorant horseshiite they trot out.

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
August 29, 2017 10:25 am

Well, not long ago California drought was caused by global warming, due to increased CO2 levels, Now Texas floods are “shaped” by the same global warming CO2 levels.

August 29, 2017 4:32 am

Yep, hurricanes can do things like this.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  2hotel9
August 29, 2017 4:43 am

Historically more people are killed and there is more property damage due to water than wind. While some will argue that the wind speeds are overestimated, the overall potential effects of CAT 3s and 4s bear those designations.

David A
Reply to  Tom in Florida
August 29, 2017 11:37 am

Twas a tropical storm, not even a Cat 1 that exceeded the 4 day total of this storm in one day.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
August 29, 2017 6:13 pm

Yes indeedy! Katrina made landfall at Gulfport–Biloxi–Pascagoula, New Orleans flooded. Many people along MS Gulf Coast died, media only talks about 9th Ward.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
September 1, 2017 11:21 am

Yep, water like a honey badger, do what it want!
One of my cousins rode out Katrina in Bay St Louis in his grandmother’s house on Ullman avenue. He lucked out, the bed he was using had a crappy mattress so he had an air mattress on it. He spent an eternity against the ceiling before the surge fell. He still goes to counseling, he has extreme nightmares about water. Best part? He still works as an engine room operator on a tugboat based out of Pascagoula.

Steve from Rockwood
August 29, 2017 4:45 am

I was watching the storm results on Fox News this morning and they show the “Euro-Model” to predict the storm track via satellite. Is there no “USA-model” of the storm over Texas? It would be worth a post to compare American and European weather models as some Americans prefer the European model.

Reply to  Steve from Rockwood
August 29, 2017 7:59 am

Yes there is. GFS and relative GEFS. You can compre them to ECMWF in Judith Curry’s new post at Climate Etc.

August 29, 2017 5:06 am

Ms Harvey (aren’t all hurricanes females ?) appears to be immovable and ain’t going anywhere soon.

Reply to  vukcevic
August 29, 2017 6:26 am

Ms Harvey (aren’t all hurricanes females ?)
Not since 1978 for Pacific storms and 1979 for Atlantic storms. Women’s lib, doncha know?

Reply to  Don Perry
August 29, 2017 9:11 am

I should know but tribal upbringing mental retardation occasionally takes over.
Since hurricanes appear to be androgynous, perhaps someone could compile list of names that fit all three, or however many sexes are currently in vogue. .

Reply to  Don Perry
August 29, 2017 10:36 am

Classic case is or was Kim, but these days:
1. Addison (Girls #12)
2. Ashley (Girls #18)
3. Ashton (Boys #121)
4. Avery (Girls #38)
5. Bailey (Girls #82)
6. Cameron (Boys #53)
7. Carson (Boys #89)
8. Carter (Boys #65)
9. Casey (Boys #336, Girls #466)
10. Corey (Boys #289)
11. Dakota (Boys #226, Girls #267)
12. Devin (Boys #109)
13. Drew (Boys #244)
14. Emerson (Girls #290)
15. Harley (Girls #415, Boys #592)
16. Harper (Girls #297)
17. Hayden (Boys #76)
18. Hunter (Boys #54)
19. Jaiden/Jayden (Boys #168, Girls #176)
20. Jamie (Girls #263)
21. Jaylen (Boys #184)
22. Jesse (Boys #110)
23. Jordan (Boys #48, Girls #130)
24. Justice (Boys #432, Girls #542)
25. Kai (Boys #229)
26. Kelly (Girls #248)
27. Kelsey (Girls #195)
28. Kendall (Girls #148)
29. Kennedy (Girls #115)
30. Lane (Boys #319)
31. Logan (Boys #19)
32. Mackenzie (Girls #65)
33. Madison (Girls #4)
34. Marley (Girls #146)
35. Mason (Boys #35)
36. Morgan (Girls #46)
37. Parker (Boys #103)
38. Peyton (Girls #60, Boys #130)
39. Piper (Girls #172)
40. Quinn (Boys #280)
41. Reagan (Girls #141)
42. Reese (Girls #154)
43. Riley (Girls #39, Boys #106)
44. Rowan (Boys #340, Girls #469)
45. Ryan (Boys #18)
46. Shane (Boys #174)
47. Shawn (Boys #195)
48. Sydney (Girls #49)
49. Taylor (Girls #22)
50. Tristan (Boys #81)
Pat only works for the first syllable.

David A
Reply to  Don Perry
August 29, 2017 11:46 am

That is so limited, only hericanes and himicanes

Gunga Din
Reply to  Don Perry
August 29, 2017 3:09 pm

A hurricane is never a good thing.
“The Hype” enters when they make one sound like a CAGW induced “Hellicane”.

August 29, 2017 5:12 am

Our modern media representatives are reprehensible. I don’t want to take away anything from the tragedy of those suffering the effects of the stupendous amounts of rain and flooding resulting from Harvey, but people all over the world have contended with worse. And of course climate change has nothing to do with it, and those who trot out the climate change meme should be ashamed of themselves. I lived in Taiwan for about 20 months in 1961-62. During those 20 months Taiwan was impacted by 9 typhoons, three of which were CAT 1 storms, one was CAT 2, two were CAT 4, and three were CAT 5. (The two CAT 4’s were 3’s at landfall, and two of the CAT 5’s were 4 at landfall; the third CAT 5 storm made landfall at 165 MPH.) I dare say that’s more typhoon/hurricane activity inside of two years than anyone living in the US has ever seen in a lifetime. So when climate activists claim that hurricane activity has gotten worse over time, I roll my eyes at their abject ignorance.
Harvey can legitimately be classified as a storm of “historic proportions.” But unprecedented? In 1967 Typhoon Clara, “just” a CAT 3 storm, dumped 65 inches of rain crossing Taiwan, and then another 108 inches within 48 hours when it made landfall in China. I’ve no doubt that there are even more dramatic examples than this of historic rainfalls from “super storms.” But these are storms I have some familiarity with. And this was all 50+ years ago. So “unprecedented?” Give me a break.
Again, this is not to denigrate the tragedy unfolding in Houston. But Houston, and indeed even the entire U.S., is not the center of the universe, and weather tragedies of much greater magnitude have routinely impacted other locations around the world. Mainstream media (and climate alarmists)? Get a grip, on reality.

Reply to  blcjr
August 31, 2017 7:31 pm

Your point is the people who live in the Houston region KNOW they live on a flood plane and should have taken appropriate actions to safeguard their own lives without waiting for “government” to “order” them to do so? Got it! Been trying to get phucking morons to take responsibility for themselves my entire adult life, people are stupid.

August 29, 2017 5:22 am

The media intrinsically seeks to present news as “newsworthy”, thus their tendency to
exaggerate. The Weather Channel was the absolute worst at this sort of thing – their
ratings depended upon hurricanes annd other extreme weather events. And, of course, every generation wants to believe that they are living in the most remarkable of times.
As they say, records are made to be broken – you can rest assured that whatever records Harvey may have set will be broken in the future – probability tells you that this has to happen.
So what else is new?
For myself and 99% of Americans, Harvey meant nothing to me. And I mean nothing.
I didn’t even watch any news coverage.
The recent eclipse affected me, Harvey didn’t.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  arthur4563
August 29, 2017 6:03 am

Check the latest gas pump prices.

Mike McMillan
August 29, 2017 6:01 am

Still raining.

Another Doug
Reply to  Mike McMillan
August 29, 2017 6:23 am

Yup. Hopefully this will be the last day of Harvey rain around Houston, and then we can get down to setting the all time mosquito record.

Reply to  Another Doug
August 29, 2017 6:22 pm

DDT. Why don’t you have any?

John Donohoe
August 29, 2017 6:09 am

Is everyone forgetting that “Things are bigger in Texas!”

Gunga Din
Reply to  John Donohoe
August 29, 2017 3:13 pm

A Texan was bragging about everything how everything is bigger in Texas.
An Alaskan had had enough and told him that if he didn’t shut up, Alaska would split itself into two states and then Texas would only be the third largest state. 😎

August 29, 2017 6:26 am

It’s time to see all of the climate change expert predictions of perpetual drought in Texas. Give us the names, the source, the prediction, and the date of the prediction.

Reply to  Resourceguy
August 29, 2017 9:30 pm

From Treehugger…99% of Texas Still Suffers Severe Drought, Despite Recent Record-Breaking Rains.
Mat McDermott (October 18, 2011)
Several weeks ago the National Weather Service said there was no end in sight for the Texas drought; and here’s the kicker quote from climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon on the potential durations of all this:

…I’ve started telling anyone who’s interested that it’s likely that much of Texas will still be in severe drought this time next summer, with water supply implications even worse than those we are now experiencing…
Q&A with State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon
by Forrest Wilder, From The Observer
Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 10:13 am CST
TO: How long do you expect this drought to last? You said sometime back that looking at the cycles of the past and the cycles we’re in presently that this drought could last through the END OF THIS DECADE.
JNG: That’s certainly possible. I’m not wrong yet. [Laughs] It takes a lot longer to get in a drought than it does to get out of it….So you can’t really say more than a few months in advance whether a particular drought is likely to end or not. But over the long term the signals are still pointing towards DROUGHT..
From Wired. Nick Stockton 29/5/15. Headline.

August 29, 2017 6:28 am

How many major hurricanes in U.S. history stalled out or reversed course and lingered along the coast?

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Resourceguy
August 29, 2017 7:12 am

I am sure there is a record to break in there somewhere.

Reply to  Resourceguy
August 29, 2017 9:06 am

That all depends on your time scale , the quality of information varies a great deal so for 100 years its good but go back say 300 years and its bad at best and before that none existent .
Hence why great claims of ‘one in five hundred years ‘ are BS , there is no data at all about conditions 500 years ago , you could equally claim this type of event was typical then , and be just has ‘accurate’ as to the claims of it being usual.

Pamela Gray
August 29, 2017 7:10 am

Don’t you just love the current state of statistics? Must drive professional statisticians nuts.

Pamela Gray
August 29, 2017 7:14 am

I note the number of levees constructed to develop new subdivisions. Levees are now breaking. Who’d a thought that would happen?

Steve Oregon
August 29, 2017 7:17 am

The expected stuff. The insinuation is that if only deniers and big oil had been on board and a trillion more spent on CO2 emission reductions the severity of Harvey would have been much less.
“The Specter of Climate Change Hangs Over Hurricane Harvey”
Read it on nymag.com
“Was Hurricane Harvey the result of climate change? The answer is complicated because weather is complicated, and probably the best science can”
“In Houston, for instance, four “hundred-year” storms have struck since 2015. The result is a terrifying, radically accelerated experience of extreme weather — centuries worth of natural disaster compressed into just a decade or two.”
“The superstorms have already begun to arrive more often,” (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-013-1713-0)
” It’s a tragic irony that many of those new arrivals who moved into the path of this storm over the last decades were brought there by the oil business, which has worked tirelessly to undermine public understanding of climate change and derail global attempts at reducing carbon emissions. One suspects this is not the last 500-year storm those workers will see before retirement. Nor the last to be seen by the hundreds of oil rigs off the coast of Houston, or the several thousand more bobbing now elsewhere off the Gulf Coast, before the toll of our emissions become so brutally clear that those rigs are finally retired, too.”

Ernest Bush
August 29, 2017 7:48 am

Flooding on this scale is not new to the Houston area. What’s changed is the same thing as everywhere else along the nation’s coastlines. The population in Harris County has grown tremendously since I grew up there in the late 40’s and 50’s. There are literally millions more living there since I was a kid. Thus the big cost is economic and that cost is going to be epic.
The people there will prosper again because they will help each other out in their troubles. Human misery will translate to tales told about the great hurricane and flood of 2017 and how “I” survived it. It helps that there are so many boat owners in the area. Also, Texas has a $10 billion fund set aside for just this kind of catastrophe and has a permanent plan in effect for dealing with hurricanes and flooding.
If you noticed the years I lived there, know that I have tales to tell of flooding and hurricanes of the era.

August 29, 2017 8:49 am

On September 1st the weather pattern will change and the jetstream will direct the low at north over Texas.

August 29, 2017 12:27 pm

So yes the storm was normal.
something you would expect.
why help people who dont prepare for a storm that is normal

Gunga Din
Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 29, 2017 3:40 pm

Prepare for a hurricane if you live in a hurricane prone area?
It may not be an annual occurrence for each and every square mile of a hurricane prone area, but, yes, prepare.
Help the people?
Sure. Lots of people willing to help.
Say a hurricane is somehow NOT normal or imply that a coal or other fossil fueled power plant “intensified” it?
That’s crap.
Magnify or distort the facts to promote “The Cause” of CAGW and its political/profit-potential implications?
That’s the hype people jump on.
Some mistook Anthony as promoting the hype for just reporting a fact of this natural disaster.
(A tropical storm almost killed me in Texas several decades ago. Good thing the old VW Bug actually did float!)

Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 29, 2017 4:08 pm

So yes the storm was normal.

Zip my lips.

why help people who dont prepare for a storm that is normal

Because the enormous rainfall 200 miles away from landfall was not forecast and caught everyone by surprise. Significant rain is to be expected even from a Category I hurricane, but not 200 miles away from landfall and not to this extent. The damage in Houston and its surroundings dwarfs the damage (wind plus storm surge plus rainfall) done in the direct path of the storm. Therefore, it is reasonable to have empathy for the misfortunes of others. The forecast was a failure, because it is difficult to forecast a coupled non-linear chaotic multi-variate natural system, even on short time scales.

Reply to  Phil
August 29, 2017 4:40 pm

Two feet or more of rain over Houston over the next 7 days was forecast at Harvey landfall. NWS got it very right, particularly with the other (incorrect) spaghetti models showing westward or north ward movement. We were told it was going to be a “Allison-type” event. What was missed, I think, is an appreciation for the area involved in this event — an area dozens of times, may be a hundred times larger than Allison affected.

Reply to  Phil
August 29, 2017 4:58 pm

… an area dozens of times, may be a hundred times larger than Allison affected.

I didn’t mean to imply that the forecast was all wrong. The sheer magnitude of it, however, was not expected. The path of the storm may end up being forecast surprisingly accurately, as well. My main point was that I just don’t think that the inhabitants of Houston and its surroundings bear undue responsibility given the unexpected magnitude of the flooding. And it isn’t over yet. Had they prepared themselves for an Allison magnitude event, I don’t think many of them would have been adequately prepared for what is actually taking place. I think that surprised everyone. If you are right that the area affected may be a hundred times larger than Allison, that would be truly extraordinary.

Ted Midd
Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 29, 2017 4:11 pm

Who said it was normal. Just another strawman.

Reply to  Ted Midd
August 29, 2017 8:39 pm

Normal is a cycle on a washing machine. (from John P. McAfee’s book, “Slow Walk in a Sad Rain”)

August 29, 2017 1:00 pm

Does this mean the permanent drought is over?

August 29, 2017 1:40 pm

So to summarize:
1. Lower ground levels 10 – 20 feet with subsidence.
2. Lower “ground floor” level 1-2 feet with construction on slab
3. Relax flood zones and subsidize risk
4. Stir in an additional 5-10 million ill-educated people living on debt.
What could possibly go wrong ?

August 29, 2017 1:57 pm
Mike McMillan
August 29, 2017 2:36 pm

Still raining.
Hummingbirds are fighting for access to the feeder. F-22’s got nuthin’ on these little guys.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Mike McMillan
August 29, 2017 3:43 pm

Always been fascinated by the flying of hummingbirds and dragonflies.

Ted Midd
August 29, 2017 4:06 pm

Lots of pros and cons with regard to record setting. If it is or isn’t, so what. Sooner or later records will get broken in a chaotic system. Just read the article for what it is.

Pamela Gray
August 29, 2017 6:14 pm

Why is it that every previous cataclysmic event was a really bad but natural weather event, however the current one has got to be man made? Mark my words, NOAA will make a statement that this current event, though initially thought to be anthropogenic weather, was not, buuutttt the next current event will be man made.

August 29, 2017 6:42 pm

It’s always intrigued me as to why such systems follow the path they do. Are they being pushed from or drawn towards areas of different pressures or temperatures?
Is the stalling of Harvey simply a matter of whatever forces that may be trying to have it move onwards being balanced by the energy required to draw the moisture from behind it much like a vacuum cleaner trying to attach itself to the carpet?

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