We Northwesterners like to think we are veterans of the rainy day, but Duluth, Minn., just went through a rain storm that even web-footed Oregon Duck would have a hard time comprehending.
As a large and moist thunderstorm complex stalled over the region, the rains began just before noon Tuesday and didn't stop -- observations at the airport show nearly 26 hours of consecutive rain with much of those reports reporting heavy rain.
It was truly a storm of a century. When all was said and done, their official station recorded 7.2 inches of rain from Tuesday into Wednesday -- breaking the old record of 6.7 inches set in 1909.
But other stations reported more, with one spotter recording an amazing 10.10" of rain in the area. The storm washed out roads, flooded a local zoo with 14 feet of water and prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency.
Now I was trying to think of a way to put 10 inches of rain into perspective for those of us around here, because 24-30 consecutive (or more) hours of rainfall is actually not all that rare in the heart of the Willamette Valley stormy season.
And here is what I came up with:
Think of our truly soggy November storm days that trigger our river flooding. Think about that drenching, driving rain that's there when you wake up and still going when you go to bed; the rain that makes instant lakes because the storm drains are clogged with leaves from autumn rains; the rain that turns your minutes commute into hours; the rain that makes it look like it's dusk at noon.
Those days typically tally about 2.5 inches – maybe 3 inches. Eugene's top all-time rainy days are in the 4-4.5 inch range with the all-time record being 4.89". But just think of the usual stormy days. Like November 22-23 this past year - Eugene had 0.49" on the 22nd that spilled into another 1.27" on the 23rd. December 27-30 had 0.41”, 2.38”, 0.94” and then 1.02” – four soaking wet days and not even five inches.
Now take that and double the intensity of rain, and now you have Duluth. Or, take one of those storms and stretch it out for 4-6 days of non-stop rain, and that's 7-10 inches. Amazing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report