Having dropped more than 50 inches of rain in an area east of Houston, Hurricane Harvey was officially declared "the most extreme rain event in U.S. history" on Tuesday.
The National Weather Service sent out notice Tuesday morning that Mary's Creek at Winding Road in Southeast Houston reported 49.2 inches of rain, but that number had been eclipsed by mid-afternoon, when Nielsen-Gammon recorded the new high mark at 50.4 inches.
"The 3-to-4 day rainfall totals...are simply mind-blowing," declared a National Weather Service office in Houston.
Rainfall totals now exceeding 50" east of Houston. Unprecedented. https://t.co/25YjTx2eS1
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) August 29, 2017
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) August 29, 2017
"All rainfall totals from this storm are still preliminary and require review. But, if verified, this amount breaks not only the Texas state rainfall record but also the record for the remaining Lower 48 states," observes the Washington Post's Jason Samenow. "Hawaii has logged isolated reports of greater amounts at high elevations from tropical systems, but the footprint from Harvey in Southeast Texas is much larger. It has produced at least three feet of rain over most of the Houston region, affecting more than 5 million people."
The astonishing numbers—which Samenow says puts Hurricane Harvey "in a class of its own"—come as many continue to either evacuate Texas or seek shelter within the state. Some estimates put the number of people who could be left displaced by Harvey at around 30,000. By Tuesday afternoon, the estimated death toll from the storm had reached 15.
As Common Dreams reported on Monday, scientists have argued that extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey—as well as the monsoon flooding that is currently ravaging Bangladesh, India, and Nepal—represent "the new reality" as the planet warms and sea levels rise.
In an appearance on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey—and the extreme events that are sure to be worsened by human-caused climate change—makes mutual aid and solidarity as essential as ever.
"If there's any silver lining in the terrible suffering that's going on in Houston, it is to remember that we are all one country, and I am sure whether you're white or black or Latino, people are coming together to help each other all over the country," Sanders said. "We are one nation and we have got to stop the type of divisions that Trump and others are bringing about trying to divide us up."
Watch the full interview: