Houston hit with more rain in one week than Detroit gets in 20 months

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Jake Poole and Cameron Carvama paddle a small boat through flood waters on Southfield freeway service drive near Outer Drive Tuesday August 12, 2014.

In just one week, parts of Houston might receive 50 inches of rain before the storm ends. That's equivalent to all of the precipitation from the past 20 months in the Detroit area. 

Since Jan. 1, Detroit has seen 25.3 inches of rainfall, said Jordan Dale, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service station in White Lake Township. 

Dale said if Detroit was impacted with the amount of rain and in the same time span as Houston's Hurricane Harvey, "it would be catastrophic."

"The rivers and creeks would be overflooded, it would take over a week to recede," Dale said. "We don't have a lot of topography in Detroit, meaning no hills or mountain areas, which would help exacerbate the flood."

Detroit's Metropolitan Area saw significant rainfall and flooding on Monday and Tuesday. Some of the highest spots included 1.96 inches at Detroit Metro Airport; 2.9 inches in Livonia; and 2.5 inches Southfield. 

Road investigators survey the support pillars at the I-75 and I-696 interchange in Royal Oak on August 12, 2014.

On Aug. 11, 2014, Metro Detroit experienced its second-highest one-day rainfall on record. Yet the 4.57 inches of rain that fell that day wasn't even a tenth of what the Houston area is experiencing. (About 4.75 inches of rain fell in southeast Michigan in 1925.)

Still, the rain that fell in Michigan three years ago caused $1.1 billion in damages primarily to the Detroit, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Oak Park, Royal Oak, Southfield, Warren, Sterling Heights, Center Line and Clinton Township communities. More than 118,000 homes and businesses were damaged. Washington officially issued a disaster declaration about a month later, allowing for many affected to be eligible for grants and low-interest loans.

Dale said there are expected showers Wednesday night but will be dry throughout the weekend. There is also a chance of showers and thunderstorms during Labor Day on Monday. 


Twitter: @SarahRahal_