History

National Record for Rainfall in a 24-Hour Period Held by Alvin, Texas

By  | 

38 years ago, a record-setting rainfall happened in Alvin, Texas, amidst which residents were simply struggling to stay dry. Not realizing they were setting a record, or maybe too busy keeping afloat to worry about it, there was no prior prediction of such monumental amounts of rainfall, and they received the greatest amount of precipitation in a 24-hour period for the entire nation.

National Record for Rainfall in a 24-Hour Period Still Held by Alvin, Texas

Photo: Wikimedia

Tropical Storm Claudette hit the town on July 25, 1979. She settled in, and before she was done, 43 inches of rain had fallen in a 24-hour period. Police squad cars became ineffective in short order, attempting to make trips to ensure people were alright or assist where some had run into trouble. Officers were quickly reassigned to high-water vehicles, continuing to assist and even rescue using dump trucks. Rescue attempts involving bridges were particularly difficult due to most being obscured by high water levels. Subsequently, the police coordinated with the Texas National Guard to find the bridges and help navigate rescuers across them.

National Record for Rainfall in a 24-Hour Period Still Held by Alvin, Texas

Photo: Maxpixel

With typically waist-deep water, police officers would stand on the running boards of a National Guard truck, feeling for bridge railings by hand and then stationing themselves on each side, acting as a marker for the truck to pass between them.

National Record for Rainfall in a 24-Hour Period Still Held by Alvin, Texas
Photo: Wikimedia

The cleanup efforts afterward were massive, but thankfully no deaths were reported in Alvin as a direct result of the record rainfall. And after constant efforts in murky waters, all first responders were required to get tetanus shots. At the time, many Alvin residents didn’t have flood insurance, and some homes were bogged with several feet of water. A large percentage evacuated to area shelters. Texans go through any number of natural disasters on an annual basis. None, thankfully, with as much rainfall as this in a day, but each coming with their own personal losses attached. We’re a hardy group of people, and the residents and law enforcement of Alvin proved some of the hardiest in the face of Claudette’s flooding.

Page 1 of 2:12