KC meteorologist: Harvey's incredible 52-inch rainfall 'very abnormal'

Jim Cunningham
August 31, 2017 - 4:55 am



The storm system known as Harvey continues to dissipate and move northward after dumping a U.S.-record 52 inches of rain on the Houston area, leaving some to ask whether the hurricane and tropical storm are part of something bigger.

Kansas City has also received an unusually high amount of rain this summer, though not with the astounding figures people are dealing with in Texas.

Spencer Mell and other meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill, Missouri say the precipitation is mind-blowing, but he did not say the storms prove climate change theories. 

"That is just incredible when you're talking that amount of rain over that short a period of time," Mell said. "Very abnormal."

So what caused more than four feet of rain to fall on Houston?

"Typically this time of year we get into that ridge of high pressure," Mell said. "That's not that much of a steering full aloft and it allowed (Harvey) system to stay parked over the area." 

Mell said the record for rainfall over a five-day period in the U-S was 48 inches.

Kansas City has received more than 37 inches of rain so far this year, which is 10 inches above average for this date. Like Harvey, the heavy rainstorms in Kansas City were fed by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. 

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