Hurricane Harvey will go down in the history books, but it's hard to imagine what it's like in southeast Texas from back here in the Black Hills. To put it in perspective, meteorologist Jon Wilson compares their numbers versus ours.
Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc over southeast Texas since the Category 4 storm made landfall late Friday night. Between then and now, rainfall totals through the area have been unprecedented. One gauge, around 25 miles east of Houston in Highlands, Texas recorded just shy of 52 inches of rainfall over the past several days, setting a U.S. record for storm totals from any tropical cyclone in history.
But around the Black Hills, how can we relate to such incredible rainfall totals?
To put things in perspective, lets take a look at some Rapid City precipitation statistics. We'll take the two official gauge stations located at the Rapid City National Weather Service and at Rapid City Regional Airport.
To this point, the airport has received just over 9 inches of precipitation, while the National Weather Service office has tallied just shy of 10 inches. As you probably know, both of those are well below average.
After the rains from Harvey, lets take a look at rainfall totals from some of the hardest hit areas.
For many places in southeast Texas, the rains added up to about 15 inches higher than this yardstick I have, and it only takes 6 inches of rapidly moving water to take some completely off their feet.
Both of the major Houston Airports were right around the 3 feet mark, one being just over, and one just under. The precipitation for 2017 is now off the charts for both places.
Consider the highest rainfall total in Highlands, Texas compared with what the Rapid City area receives on average over the course of an entire year. In that area, there was over 3 times more precipitation than what the airport gets on an annual basis and over 2.5 times greater than here in town.
Here's a look at the wettest years on record for Rapid City. When we compare that with the highest rainfall total in Highlands, Texas since data has been collected in Rapid City, it only adds up to just over half of that amount.
Harvey has set a record for being the longest named storm for a hurricane that made landfall in Texas, and while the rains were devastating, so were the winds. The strongest wind gust was recorded at 132 mph, the equivalent of an EF-2 tornado.