Many of the states in the western United States are well known for their dry weather, low humidity, and extreme temperatures. Looking at the average amount of rainfall per year, these are the five driest states in the country.
Nevada is considered among the driest states in America because of its location as a land-locked state. Data collected since 1938 shows that Las Vegas receives an average of fewer than 4.2 inches of rain per year while the state as a whole receives about 9.56 inches per year.
The climate of Nevada is very dry, with intense heat over the summer. It also has mountains that will block the moisture from the ocean, preventing cross breezes that are found in coastal areas. The moisture here is just not easy to come by, making Nevada among the driest states in the country.
New Mexico similarly features a wide range of climates. Deserts, plains, and mountains can all be found within the state. Also like Arizona, the majority of New Mexico’s precipitation occurs in higher elevations. While mountains receive about 40 inches of rain, the flat lands get only eight to ten inches. Overall, the state receives an average of 12.38 inches of rain per year.
It might be shocking to some that Arizona is only the third driest state. Arizona is infamous for its dry spells and desert climate. However, the elevation in Arizona varies. Yearly precipitation totals range from three inches to over 40 inches. Those higher rainfall totals are located in the state's mountains. Overall, Arizona totals 12.61 inches of rainfall per year, less than one inch per month.
Utah is known for its beautiful skiing, and that may make some believe that it can be a cooler state year-round, but this is just not the case. Utah’s skiing comes from the mountains, an area that is not rich in moisture. This is a state where the annual rainfall is only approximately 13.57 inches per year. Utah is a very dry state with an extremely hot summer and just as extremely cold temperatures in the winter. Unlike winters in the eastern United States, where the coasts bring in cold temperatures and humidity off of the water, Utah has a dry cold. The dry cold in Utah is infamous.
As the only northern state in the top five, Montana may surprise some as a dry state. However, Montana receives an average only 14.39 inches of precipitation annually.
Annual Precipitation (in)
|District of Columbia||43.00|