After 19 days with no measurable rain, Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. saw intense thunderstorms on July 17, 2018, and a record-breaking 66.8 mm (2.63 inches) of rain in just 42 minutes.
A new daily rainfall record was set at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for July 17 with 84.8 mm (3.34 inches) of rain in 24 hours, breaking the previous record of 52 mm (2.05 inches) set on July 17, 1945.
However, an extraordinary 66.8 mm (2.63 inches) of the total fell in just 42 minutes.
The total was also the biggest single-day rainfall for the airport since July 28, 2017, and the second-most in July since 1975.
In the afternoon, 24.1 mm (0.95 inches of rain fell in just nine minutes and 30.9 mm (1.22 inches) fell in 15 minutes.
Such rainfall intensities are expected only once every 10 to 50 years on average, Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang wrote.
This area saw no measurable rain in 19 days, including none in the first 16 days of July, which is also a record.
The sudden rainfall left dozens of cars flooded on the George Washington Parkway, forcing rescuers to take drivers to dry land by boat.
#FinalUpdate: FD units all in service. 40 people removed from 25 stranded vehicles. No injuries or medical emergencies reported. @usparkpolicepio on scene working to clear roadway. pic.twitter.com/h0uOsnl7NR— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 17, 2018
On the same day, Baltimore/Washington International Airport recorded 64.2 mm (2.53 inches) of rain, breaking the previous record of 57.1 mm (2.25 inches) recorded in 1947.
Washington Dulles International Airport also broke its previous daily rainfall record for July 17 with 26.6 mm (1.05 inches) of rain. The previous record was 15.2 mm (0.60 inches) set in 1988.
Featured image credit: Arlington Fire Department