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Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Records

September 21, 2018

By Paul Homewood


Meteorologist and hurricane expert, Philip Klotzbach has put together this map for tropical cyclone rainfall records by state:



It seems a bit of a mixed bag, with little to support claims that TC rainfall is increasing nowadays.

We can home in on the east coast:


ScreenHunter_3075 Sep. 21 13.53 

The first thing that stands out is just what an impact Floyd had, breaking state records for:

New Hampshire


New Jersey

N Carolina


Unlike some others of these record breaking storms, Floyd passed through very quickly rather than stalling.


We have heard a lot about the stalling of Harvey and Florence, but such events are nothing new.

It was exactly what happened with Hurricane Easy in 1950, which swamped Florida. Stalling also caused Alberto to leave Georgia with the worst flooding in history in 1994.

In the same year as Alberto, Tropical Storm Jerry dumped record rainfall on S Carolina.

Biggest of the lot was Camille, one of the strongest storms to hit the US on record. Having made landfall as a Cat 5 in Mississippi, Camille curved inland, before re-emerging at Norfolk, Virginia. Before leaving, it dumped record amounts of rain on Virginia, and is still regarded as one of the worst natural disasters in central Virginia’s recorded history.

 Hurricane Camille Track

A look at the chronological distribution of these records shows little evidence of any trends. My guess is that the lack of any record prior to 1950 has more to do with the lack of automatic rain gauges or a widespread network for collecting data at that time than any climatic factors.

When measuring extremes, the more sites you have, the more likely you are to find a “new record”.



  1. stephen kent permalink
    September 21, 2018 4:29 pm

    When I see all the disasters analysed here I am vey glad to live in the UK… we only have “weather”!

    • September 22, 2018 12:31 pm

      Where I live in northern West Virginia, we do not have extreme weather. Occasionally we can have a tornado touch down, but not often. We get the water from hurricanes, not the wind. We did have the derecho some years ago and there are severe rain events which occur in the Southern Appalachians such as the one which came across mid-southern WV in 2016. Here when you are getting sick and tired of one season, the next one comes along.

    • RAH permalink
      September 22, 2018 4:00 pm

      The UK gets weather disasters. And some weather disasters for the UK have been history changing. The Spanish know a little about that.

  2. September 21, 2018 7:34 pm

    Important to note that Phil put out that chart (Sept 151th) as it was still raining from Florence. In one of his video’s (Sept 17th) he notes that over 3 feet of rain had by then fallen in N. Carolina Don’t know if he’s updated the chart yet.

  3. Bloke down the pub permalink
    September 21, 2018 10:30 pm

    Is there a database where the daily rainfall from each storm is recorded? It would seem to be a more equitable way of measuring the storm’s output rather than looking at how much rain falls at one spot.

  4. September 22, 2018 7:21 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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