Discover the Missouri Town That Got 12 Inches of Rain in a Single Hour!

Written by Karla Lewellyn
Published: December 14, 2023
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Missouri rain varies widely across the state, and the average rainfall for Holt, Missouri, in the month of June is 5.31 inches (135 millimeters). However, on June 22, 1947, this small town in northwestern Missouri experienced a record-setting rainfall of 12 inches in a single hour!

Rain water drop falling to the floor in heavy rain day

June 1947 was the wettest June on record across northern Missouri up to that time.


In the wee morning hours of Sunday morning on June 22, 1947, the United States Weather Bureau (what is now the National Weather Service) forecasted a cold front pushing warm, humid air across the central Plains that would bring severe rainfall to northern Missouri.

“Severe rainfall” was an understatement! Earlier in the day, a string of thunderstorms had already passed through the region. However, around 7:00 p.m. on June 22, an unprecedented cloudburst dumped a record-breaking amount of water on the town of Holt.

The setup for this weather phenomenon was perfect. First, the dew point was in the mid-70s, which is considered “oppressive.” This tropical setup foreshadowed this record-breaking cloudburst. By definition, a cloudburst is a sudden, heavy downpour where a lot of rain falls in a short amount of time. Many times, these downpours cause major flooding and damage.

Fortunately, this foot of rain fell in a localized space. Only 28 miles away from Holt, Kansas City only received 2.23 inches for the day as a whole. For comparison and scale, multiple areas in northern Missouri recorded 10-12 inches for the entire month. It only took 42 minutes for this record-setting Missouri rain to fall in what the town receives in an entire month!

The Bucket Survey

Soon after this unprecedented rainfall, the Corps of Engineers conducted a “bucket survey.” Numerous meteorologists and hydrologists conducted interviews, collected raw data, and observed the aftereffects of the storm. Observers in the study reported the record rainfall occurring between 40-45 minutes. Two people even timed the deluge at 42 minutes exactly. One of these was a woman who, along with her husband, used an empty bucket to record the rainfall amount.

This world-record rainfall still stands over 75 years after it occurred.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © SevenMaps/

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About the Author

Karla Lewellyn is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on places, dogs, travel, and geography. Karla has been writing and researching for 10 years and holds a Master's degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A resident of Tennessee, Karla loves reading, writing, and spending time outdoors in East Tennessee.

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