Hurricane Harvey Dumps Trillions Of Gallons Of Water On Texas
KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
The amount of rain that has fallen in Texas is hard to imagine. Here's one way to do it, though.
MATTHEW CAPPUCCI: If you took the Empire State Building, more than a hundred stories tall, you could fill that entire volume 33,000 times with the water that fell on Houston and the surrounding areas. That shows you how much there was.
MCEVERS: Matthew Cappucci spent the weekend making these calculations, trying to get his own head around what's happened. He's a student of atmospheric sciences at Harvard and writes for The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang.
CAPPUCCI: The National Weather Service used the words unprecedented to describe the amount of rainfall and the rapidity with which it fell. And it truly is absolutely remarkable.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Cappucci estimates that in a 36-hour period, roughly 9 trillion gallons of water fell on the Houston area.
CAPPUCCI: So we can get some numbers that high - 9 trillion. It really is an incredible number. But it's really tough to visualize.
SHAPIRO: But he's trying. Here's another way to think of the magnitude.
CAPPUCCI: Fourteen million Olympic-size swimming pools. And picture that just sitting there. And that is why we're seeing such amazing flooding in the Houston area.
MCEVERS: Cappucci has yet another way of picturing this. He says that if you took that amount of water, 9 trillion gallons, and spread it equally over the 48 contiguous states, it would equal .17 inches of rain covering the country.
CAPPUCCI: If we took three pennies, put them on top of each other, that's how high it would stack up. It'd be a rainy day everywhere. And picture that crammed in just one small county area.
SHAPIRO: And it's not over yet. The forecast shows more rain in Texas through Friday. One more note - the colors that the National Weather Service uses to show rainfall on its maps, shades of yellow, red and orange - they couldn't represent the amounts seen in southeastern Texas. So it added two new shades of purple.
MCEVERS: We'll bring you more about the storm's path and about the devastation from Harvey throughout the show. And our coverage continues tomorrow beginning with MORNING EDITION.
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