Fact Check: Did More Water Fall During Hurricane Harvey Than During A Year At Niagara Falls?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Brandon Mulder, PolitiFact/Austin American-Statesman; radio story produced by Alexandra HartFebruary 10, 2021 4:40 pm,

From PolitiFact Texas:

No, Harvey didn’t drop more water on Houston than flows over Niagara Falls in a year

John Kerry, President Joe Biden’s new special envoy on climate, appeared on CNN Jan. 31 to lay out the Biden administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing climate change.

The cost of taking no action on climate change will far outweigh the price of preventing its worst-case scenario, Kerry argued, pointing to three recent storms — hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma — whose damages cost the U.S. a combined $265 billion.

And then Kerry threw out a striking detail: “Harvey dropped more water on Houston in five days than goes over Niagara Falls in a year,” he said.

It’s true that Hurricane Harvey produced rainfall levels that have never been experienced in the U.S. in recorded history. According to Texas State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon, the amount of rainfall that fell during a five-day period across 10,000 square miles of Texas and Louisiana exceeded the previous record set in 1899 by 62%.

In Harris County alone, which contains the bulk of the city of Houston, the storm dropped an average 33.7 inches of rainfall across the county’s 1,777 square mile area. But is that amount of rainfall more than the volume of water that flows over Niagara Falls in a full year? …

Read the full story and see how Kerry’s claim rated at PolitiFact, and listen to the full interview with PolitFact’s Brandon Mulder in the audio player above.

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