ORLANDO, Fla. -- The 150-mph wind and massive storm surge get a lot of headlines from Hurricane Ian, but its torrential rainfall also rates among the wetter tropical events the U.S. has seen in the past several years.
An analysis by NOAA's Weather Prediction Center shows that more than 3,500 square miles (9,149 square kilometers) of Florida was covered by 10 or more inches of rain on Wednesday -- the day Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm near Fort Myers and trekked northeast across central and northern Florida into Thursday. That equates to covering about 5.3% of the entire state of Florida in 10-plus inches of rain.
It's the third-highest coverage of 10-plus inches of rain in a 24-hour period from a tropical system since 2005, according to the WPC. The only storm to top Ian was Hurricane Harvey -- twice.
Harvey stalled over Houston and southeastern Texas in August 2017, dumping several inches of rain over several days. The third day of Harvey's wrath was the wettest, covering 5,700 square miles with at least 10 inches of rain. The day before, the storm covered nearly 4,400 square miles with double-digit 24-hour rainfall.
Some places drenched by Harvey received more than 45-50 inches of rain during the storm.
The second day of Hurricane Matthew, which cut across the mid-Atlantic states, was in fourth place, covering just under 3,500 square miles with 10-plus inches of rain. Much of that area was in North Carolina. The first day of Matthew ranked No. 9.
Hurricane Irma, which covered just under 3,400 square miles in such rainfall, ranked fifth. Again, nearly all the wrath was in Florida, though a small corner of southeastern Georgia also netted 10-plus inches.
Hurricanes Joaquin (South Carolina) and Isaac (Louisiana and Mississippi) ranked sixth and seventh, respectively. A non-named storm with tropical moisture that hit Louisiana in August 2016 ranked eighth while the second day of Hurricane Florence in North Carolina in 2018 rounded out the top 10.