Putting Hurricane Harvey in perspective

Posted at 6:51 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 19:57:47-04

Though the images from Texas are both heartbreaking and horrific, it may be difficult for us to comprehend just how significant this historic storm Harvey is and statistics bear that out.

Think about it this way. The rainfall that led to our area’s devastating flooding in and around Burlington and parts of Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties in July amounted to between 5 and 10 inches.

The wall of water hitting Houston and Eastern Texas could end up 10 times as much, exceeding the area’s average annual rainfall in about a week.

Of course, while nothing diminishes the suffering of our own neighbors the bulk of southeast Wisconsin’s worst storms were here and gone in less than 24 hours.

Texas may end up with torrential downpours for almost 10 days.

In fact,  one estimate suggests totals could amount to 20 trillion—that’s trillion with a T—gallons of water falling on Texas during the storm’s duration.

To wrap your head around that, imagine a tank of water four miles high from downtown Milwaukee to the Bayshore Town Center in Whitefish Bay and West to 60th Street.

Meantime, while we once had a brief record wind gust of 90 miles per hour on May 5, 1950, the Texas Gulf Coast saw sustained winds of 130 miles per hour when Hurricane Harvey made landfall last Friday.

And finally,  the devastating storm’s sheer immenseness could take your breath away. It would cover virtually our entire state.