LIBERTY, Texas (AP) — Bruce Johnson knew it all along.
The Houston Chronicle reports while the Houston area shuddered at a record-setting 51 inches of rain recorded during Hurricane Harvey, Johnson knew his rural community was hit with even more.
“Houston didn’t get the most rain,” said Johnson, who owns an apartment complex in the small city of Liberty. “We did.”
Meteorologists now agree. New hour-by-hour rainfall data collected by the National Weather Service shows a gauge in the city of Liberty northeast of Houston recorded 55 inches of rain during Harvey — a record that surpasses even the 52 inches of rains from a tropical storm recorded in Hawaii in 1950.
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And the record could go even higher — perhaps reaching 60 inches in some areas — as meteorologists continue to analyze the data that literally poured into the Houston region starting Aug. 25.
“The flooding Harvey caused from the rainfall was a historic event,” said Scott Overpeck, an NWS meteorologist. “For that reason alone, we need to make sure we get the rainfall amounts correct and understand how much rain actually fell.”
The apparent record-breaking total of 51.88 was logged at Cedar Bayou and U.S. Highway 90 near Crosby on a gauge monitored by the Harris County Flood Control District. But scientists now believe the reading is invalid because the gauge broke during the storm, he said.
As the assessment of Harvey’s impact continues, Liberty County may be critical in determining how much rain soaked the region during the storm’s peak.
Overpeck said getting the correct amount of rainfall in specific areas will help forecasters and emergency managers plan for future storms.
The National Weather Service has already received multiple reports — still unconfirmed — of rainfall amounts exceeding 50 inches in some areas. Officials will analyze the rain data from the storm to uncover any information that might be useful.
“This then leads to better flood warnings since we know what the impacts are going to be,” he said.
Downstream from Liberty in Moss Bluff, Sherry Goodwine knew the county was taking a big hit on Aug. 27 when a wall of water slammed into her mobile home, dislodging it from its cinder blocks and spinning it 90 degrees.
The 61-year-old construction manager had already retreated to her neighbor’s lake-front cabin on stilts, forced out along with other…