Rain – our planet depends on it as a valuable step in the water cycle. But what places on earth contribute to that cycle the most? While the media and others in popular culture never cease to remark about the wet weather in Seattle or London, these cities are virtual deserts compred to the areas of the Earth that receive the most rainfall. While each of those cities get dozens of inches of rain annually, the wettest places on the planet lay claim to hundreds of inches.
So what is the wettest place on dry land? Determining that is no simple matter. Rainfall measurement is not an exact science and totals can be very different when gauges are short distances from each other. But two cities make a strong claim for the title. Tutunendo, Columbia boasts it has an average annual rainfall of 463.4 inches. It’s probably not something the Chamber of Commerce people mention. Mawsynram, a city in India that does not want to be upstaged, claims it receives an average of 467 inches annually. It may be a matter of pride, but who really cares over who gets a few more inches when you’re talking more than 460 a year?
Several other cities in India record more than 400 inches of rain each year as well, making it one of the wettest regions in the world. Perhaps you’ll think of that next time rain ruins your outdoor plans. The flip side is that this region of India can also be one of the driest. In the winter, it is not uncommon for the area to go months without rain. But when the monsoon winds return in the spring, the deluge begins anew.
In the United States, Mount Wai’ale’ale on Kaua’i takes the prize for the rainiest location, receiving approximately 460 inches of rain each year. In fact, the location also takes the prize for the number of rainy days each year. It only stays totally dry there 15 days a year!
In the continental United States, Seattle still has a hard time rating. Though it may be gray and cloudy there often, and there might be a lot of light rain falling, when it is added up, Seattle only comes in ranked 44th with 36 inches of rain each year on average. Olympia, Washington, the rainiest location in the state, only ranked slightly higher. It appears at number 24 on the list of rainiest cities in the United States.
To find the wettest cities in the continental United States, you must travel to the southeast. There, the warm waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico combine to make a very volatile, and wet, weather pattern. Mobile, Alabama ranks number one with an average of 67 inches per year. The top 10 wettest cities in the continental United States all come from either Texas, Louisiana, Alabama or Florida.