The Greatest 24-Hour Deluge in the US Ever

July 24, 2011; 3:51 PM ET
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Satellite image of Tropical Storm Claudette making landfall in Texas on July 24, 1979, courtesy of NOAA. The storm was the culprit behind the greatest amount of rain dropped over the course of 24 hours in the U.S.

"The greatest 24-hour rainfall amount in the world is nearly 72 inches"


Alvin, Texas, was deluged by 43 inches of rain in 24 hours from July 24-25, 1979, setting an all-time record 24-hour rainfall for the U.S.

The torrential rain fell as Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border before stalling right over Alvin.

The 24-hour rainfall in Alvin may also be the record for the world's greatest 24-hour rainfall occurring over flat terrain, according to the Atlantic Hurricane Season Summary of 1979 released by the National Hurricane Center.

Other locations in Texas were also inundated by more than 30 inches of rain from Claudette.

This rainfall map from Tropical Storm Claudette shows a bulls-eye of rain over southeastern Texas with amounts of over 30 inches. Courtesy of NOAA.

The greatest 24-hour rainfall amount in the world is nearly 72 inches at Foc-Foc, La Reunion Island, an island located in the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar, Jan. 7-8, 1966. The rain was unleashed by a tropical cyclone churning in the Indian Ocean. The mountainous terrain across the island rises to as high as 10,070 feet above sea level on the Piton des Neiges volcano.

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