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Question of the Day: Hurricane Rainfall

Hurricane Andrew - 1992 (Image courtesy National Hurricane Center)


July 10, 2008


Do the strongest hurricanes produce the greatest rainfall amounts?

The most important factor in determining the rainfall from a hurricane or tropical storm is the forward speed of the storm. A slow moving or stalled tropical storm can produce considerably more rainfall in a given area than a fast moving intense hurricane.

Hurricane Andrew produced rainfall amounts of between 7 and 8 inches across the south Florida peninsula as it ravaged the area with strong winds during August 1992. In comparison, Tropical Storm Alberto dumped more than 27 inches of rain in Americus, Georgia (21 inches in 24 hours) when it struck during July of 1994. In 1979, Tropical Storm Claudette brought 45 inches of rain to an area near Alvin, Texas.

To get a very rough estimate of the rainfall potential from a particular storm, divide 100 by the forward movement of the storm. However, since rainfall varies considerably depending on your location with respect to the path of the storm and other weather features, check your local forecast to get a more accurate estimate.



Last update: 07/20/10