Record-Breaking Rainfall, By the Numbers

Record amounts of rain have drenched much of the Eastern United States this week. Dennis Feltgen of the National Weather Service tallies a storm toll and notes what might be on the horizon.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

This is DAY TO DAY I'm Madeleine Brand.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

And I'm Alex Chadwick. In Pennsylvania, officials say most of the two hundred thousand people ordered to evacuate from Wilksbury can go home later today.

BRAND: The evacuation call came as the Susquehanna River swelled to dangerous levels after heavy rains. There have been at least a dozen deaths blamed on the weather.

CHADWICK: It began a week ago today. A cold front rolled east from the Plains and got stuck in the Appalachian Mountains. It was blocked by another weather system called a Bermuda High, and then it started to rain.

Mr. DENNIS FELTGEN (Meteorologist, National Weather Service): And this continued into Friday, into Saturday, into Sunday, and on into Monday.

BRAND: Dennis Feltgen is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Mr. FELTGEN: We had what was called a training affect, where thunder storms kept going over the same area like railroad cars on train tracks and that produced a saturated ground, and there was nowhere for the water to go but up.

BRAND: The bad weather affected areas from Northeast Georgia all the way to upstate Vermont. The hardest hit areas were in Maryland, Pennsylvania and central New York State.

Mr. FELTGEN: In those areas anywhere from 10 to 12 to 15 inches of rain has occurred with isolated estimates from Doppler Radar between fifteen and twenty inches.

CHADWICK: And that deluge was record-breaking.

Mr. FELTGEN: In the Washington D.C. area over five inches of rain occurred in a 24 hour period, and that was on Sunday, and that broke a record set going back to 1872.

BRAND: There are still places under water and damage assessment teams are in the field. It's hard to say what the property damage will be now. But...

Mr. FELTGEN: It's just about a given that this will be a multi-billion dollar event, and that's billion with a B.

CHADWICK: That's Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, and more rain is expected today for New York State.

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