In 2018, the average annual rainfall in the U.S. was 34.63 inches, 4.6 inches over the long-term average. This makes 2018 the third-wettest year on record for the U.S. and sixth consecutive year of above-average precipitation. Also in 2018, nine states had their highest annual rainfall on record: North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Hawaii had possibly the highest 24-hour rainfall record as a rain gauge on Kauai reported 46.69 inches of rain in 24 hours.
Rain is a necessary and beneficial part of the water cycle that replenishes aquifers, nourishes plants and trees, and fills bodies of waters such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. Rain is, therefore, also responsible for the existence of animal life by providing water to ecosystems.
As with anything, too much rain has negative impacts. An excess of heavy rainfall over a relatively short period can lead to flooding and dangerous roads. Rain can also cause soil erosion, which can carry fertilizers and ground pollutions to bodies of water. This soil erosion has the potential to harm ecosystems in the water and reduce the quality and availability of safe drinking water. Excess rain can also damage crops and wildlife, as well as impact retail sales and attendance at outdoor events.
The United States has a wide range of geography, from dry, arid deserts to humid coastlines and everything in between. Due to this, different regions of the country experience different precipitation patterns and levels. Many people perceive the Northwest to be the rainiest region of the country; however, data from the Climate Corporation shows that no city in this region is in the top ten rainiest cities in the United States.
What are the rainiest cities in the U.S.? The Climate Corporation collected and compared data from 195 U.S. cities to determine the rainiest cities.
The ten rainiest cities are:
- Mobile, AL
- Pensacola, FL
- New Orleans, AL
- West Palm Beach, FL
- Lafayette, LA
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Miami, FL
- Port Arthur, TX
- Tallahassee, FL
- Lake Charles, LA
Mobile is the rainiest city in the United States. Mobile receives an average annual rainfall of 67 inches and has about 59 rainy days per year. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile’s winters tend to be mild and rainy, and the area is subjected to tropical storms and hurricanes during hurricane season.
Eight out of the 10 rainiest cities in the US are located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, contributing to their overall wet and warm conditions. Miami and West Palm Beach are also coastal cities, but they are located on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Coastal cities receive more rainfall than inland cities because warm ocean water causes high evaporation, which is then carried over the land by sea breezes. Those who do not like rain should consider states such as Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana, which are the driest in the US.