The flooding in Louisiana is breaking records many never thought could be broken.
"We have crushed the previous records, is probably the best way to put it," said Louisiana State Climatologist Barry Keim in an interview with CNBC. "The amount of rain is absolutely extraordinary. Nobody expected it."
In just two days 21.86 inches of rain fell in Livingston, Louisiana, according to National Weather Service gauges. Keim noted that tops the threshold of 20.7 inches for a 1,000-year rainfall event for that period.
But other gauges measured more than 31 inches in Watson, Louisiana. That staggering total left many climate scientists and meteorologists scratching their heads, Keim said.
Several rivers have flooded far beyond record levels set during a severe flood 33 years ago — a flood that was itself so severe, few believed it could be topped.
The Amite River reached such heights in 1983 that levees were later built to the record-breaking levels seen that year, The Advocate reported.