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Comparing the flood of 1985 to Hurricane Harvey

Putting the two catastrophic floods into perspective

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ROANOKE, Va. - – The flood of 1985 for southwest and central Virginia was deadly, devastating, and catastrophic. Those who lived through one of the worst floods in the state's history remember where they were and what they were doing on that fateful day. As crippling as the flood of 85 'was for this area, the flooding as a result of Harvey may go down as the worst flooding disaster in the country's history. 

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Below is a map of the amount of rain that fell in and around the flooded areas. The highest total for the event was 19.8 inches of rain. That occurred in the highlands. 

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The remnants of Hurricane Juan stalled over Virginia producing days of heavy rain. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 4, 9.99 inches of rain had fallen on already saturated ground at the Roanoke Regional Airport. 6.61 inches of that fell on Nov. 4. All of those numbers are staggering. The flooding, of course, was all exaggerated by our mountainous terrain.

Those 10 inches of rain at the Roanoke Regional Airport fell over a four-day period. The map below shows rain from Harvey in a two-day period.

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The heavy rain is expected to continue for the next three or four days. The forecast of an additional 1-2 feet of rain prompted the National Weather Service to issue this statement.

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For more perspective, in that 48 hour span, Houston saw almost as much rain as Roanoke has seen for the entire year to date.

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You can't really compare disasters, because they are all devastating. We're just merely trying to show just how much water Southeast Texas has received.