A NASA handout released on August 29, 2017 shows Tropical Storm Harvey swirling off the US Gulf Coast, poised to make a second landfall, with more devastating wind and rain d time late August 29, 2017 or early August 30, 2017 over Louisiana, the state directly to the east of Texas. (AFP Photo/Handout)
Miami (AFP) - Hurricane Harvey has set what forecasters believe is a new rainfall record for the continental United States, officials said Tuesday.
Harvey, swirling for the past few days off Texas and Louisiana -- at times as a hurricane and at times a tropical storm -- has dumped more than 49 inches (124.5 centimeters) of rain on the region.
"The record for total rainfall from a tropical system has been BROKEN!" the National Weather Service Houston announced on Twitter.
According to the latest report from the National Hurricane Center, the data comes from a rain gauge southeast of Houston.
"Mary's Creek at Winding Road recorded 49.32 inches (125.27 centimeters) as of 9 am CDT," (1400 GMT), the NHC said.
"This total is higher than the previous record of 48 inches (121.9 centimeters) set during tropical cyclone Amelia of 1978 at Medina, Texas."
NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said the record is being treated preliminarily as one for the entire continental United States.
He added that confirming it "will take a lot of research," as experts review water gauges and past historical records -- a process likely to take several weeks.
Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday as a Category Four hurricane. It has since weakened to a tropical storm but is still unleashing massive amounts of rain over Texas and Louisiana.