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Columbia got more than enough rain in March

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | 5:53 p.m. CDT; updated 7:17 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

The amount of rainfall in Columbia totaled 5.37 inches in March, more than 2 inches above average for the month, according to the National Weather Service.

Although rainfall is measured in inches, looking at the total volume of rain is far more impressive, said Jim Kramper of the National Weather Service.

If all the water that fell on Columbia during March were to be collected into a huge, perfectly round fishbowl, the bowl would rise 18 feet above the Eiffel Tower, which is 1,063 feet high.

Put in another perspective, the bowl would be almost twice as tall as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

The average person drinking a normal daily amount of water, about 11 cups, would need 19,729,471 years to consume Columbia’s March rainfall.

It’s enough water to fill more than 11,095 Olympic-size pools.

How do you determine the volume of rainfall on a city?

Take the area of Columbia and multiply it by the amount of water that dropped on the city.

Columbia covers 53 square miles, a number that was then converted to square feet for the equation. The result, 1,477,555,200 square feet, was multiplied by .4475, 5.37 inches of rainfall converted to feet.

That produced a volume of 661,205,951 cubic feet of water to pour into the hypothetical fishbowl.

In contrast, the driest March on record — .51 inches in 1956 — produced a volume of rainfall totaling 62,796,096 cubic feet.

The wettest March occurred in 1973, when a total of 10.09 inches fell on Columbia, resulting in a fishbowl that would hold more than 1 billion cubic feet of water.

That fishbowl would nearly reach the top of the 1,450-foot Sears Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in North America and the third tallest in the world.


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