Hurricane Harvey has dumped unprecedented amounts of rainfall on the state of Texas this week, enough, in fact, to fill more than 15 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
As of noon on Monday, meteorologists estimated that the hurricane had dropped 9 trillion gallons of rain across the Houston area, more than any other tropical storm ever to hit the United States.
It can be hard to visualize numbers in the billions or trillions, but that volume of rainfall could fill more than 15 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
That’s assuming the dimensions of the pools at 50 meters (long) x 25 meters (wide) x 3 meters (deep), the size of the tanks in both Rio and London. That produces a volume of 3750 cubic meters, or 3,750,000 liters.
Converting that 15 trillion gallon number (which has certainly gone up in the day-and-a-half since it was reported) to liters yields 56,781,176,700,000 or more than 56 trillion liters. Dividing that into units big enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool shows that the rainfall from Harvey could fill 15,141,647.12 of the Olympic tubs.
That’s an astounding number and starts to give a picture of the sheer size of – and devastation caused by – Harvey. The Washington Post visualized the rainfall total as a cube two miles by two miles by two miles.
Astute fans will know that SwimSwam headquarters are in Texas, including our editor-in-chief Braden Keith, who lives right in Houston, the city taking the brunt of the hurricane’s force. We’re grateful to report that all SwimSwam staff are safe and accounted for, and even helping others in the area evacuate.
The hurricane has certainly stretched us a bit thin as we endeavor to keep bringing swim fans uninterrupted coverage of the World Junior Championships and other major competitions and news, along with the kickoff to our college swimming coverage. We’re grateful for your patience and support as we work to get fully back on our feet, and we take this week’s disaster as a sobering reminder of the raw power of the water we as swimmers and swimming fans can so often take for granted.