Record-Breaking Rainfall, By the Numbers

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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.


This is DAY TO DAY I'm Madeleine Brand.


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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