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Rain story

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Since there has been a lot of rain lately around here, I grew curious how we stack up to the rest of the world as far as rainfall totals, records -- just rain in general.

Notice I didn’t say rain event, like many of the TV people do. It’s just rain. It’s also a storm, not a storm event. And it’s news, not eyewitness news.

Anyway, this column was prepared while it was raining. Not a whole lot, but raining, and I had to stop mowing the lawn. Actually, it is more like a green mud pie now. I gently walked up and down behind the mower to make sure I didn’t sink.

But, at least I still have a lawn to mow as opposed to a fishing pond, so that’s good.

I wouldn’t have much of a lawn in Chereapunji, India, one of the wettest places on Earth because of the monsoons that land there each year. It holds the world record - 48-hour rainfall with 98.15 inches on June 25-16, 1995. It’s legit, confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

That’s too far, though. There has to be a record rainfall closer to home. During Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979, Alvin recorded 43 inches of rain in 24 hours. That’s a USA record. In Chereapunji, that would be just another soggy day.

Now, you’re probably asking: “Where is the rainiest place in the world?” Well, in India, of course. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the highest average rainfall is in Meghalaya, India. The place has received over 38 years an average rainfall of 47 inches annually.

They are even capitalizing on this as a tourist attraction, promoting the town as the wettest spot in the world.

But what about the good old US of A? Where is all the rain falling here? I found that also.
The most rain that has ever fallen in one place in the shortest amount of time was in Unionsville, Maryland. There, on July 4, 1956, 1.23 inches of rain fell in one minute.

Alamogordo Creek, New Mexico is in the second spot with 2.03 inches of rain that fell in five minutes on June 5, 1960. Alvin ranks 17th.

Smethport, Pennsylvania received 30.70 inches in 4 hours and 30 minutes between July 17-18, 1942. That’s some serious rain in the USA. In India, it probably would be considered a sprinkle.

The greatest precipitation total ever recorded in one month in the United States was in March 1942 in Puu Kukui on the Hawaiian island of Maui. A rain gauge 4,771 feet west of the Maui Mountains recorded almost 9 feet of rain (101 inches). That’s a lot of rain, no matter how you measure it.

If you think the Houston rains were bad, which they were, let me take you back to Aug. 4, 1943, to Burnsville, West Virginia, where 13.80 inches of rain fell in just one hour. A total of 23 people were killed by the flood, and a lot of homes were swept away.

In Texas, the wettest year was in 2015, when 41.36 inches of rain fell. If I remember correctly, 2005 wasn’t much better, especially on weekends when we were trying to play softball. Plus, we had Hurricane Rita that year also, although that caused more stress during the evacuation than the hurricane itself.

The greatest annual rainfall was in Clarksville in 1873 with 109 inches of rain. The least amount of rain in the state in any year fell in Wink (1.76 inches) in 1956.

And, while we’re on the subject of Texas, the driest year on record for the state was only five years ago, 2011,with 14.88 inches of rain falling all year, beating an almost-century-old record of 14.99 inches in 1917.

So, it seems we’ve gone from too little to too much in a short period of time. The rain has stopped for now, but the news is not good. AccuWeather Minutecast: Rain starting in 60 minutes.

That’s just great.