The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) runs the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), which releases data on the weather patterns in the United States. Included in the NOAA-NCDC's data is information on the rainiest places in the USA. This touches on the cities that have the rainiest days as well as the places that have the most annual precipitation.
Forty-five inches (1143 millimeters) of precipitation appears to be the threshold used by NOAA-NCDC to outline the wettest places in the United States.
The very wettest places far exceed that threshold. According to NOAA-NCDC data, the wettest place in the United States is Mt. Waialeale on Kauai in Hawaii, which gets approximately 460 inches (11,684 millimeters) of rain each year, making it one of the rainiest spots on earth.
In Alaska, Little Port Walter on Baranof Island takes the crown for the most rain and snow measured in that state with approximately 237 inches (6,009mm) of precipitation (rain and snow) annually. Meanwhile, the absolute wettest places in the continental United States are located in the Pacific Northwest, with Washington State's Aberdeen Reservoir taking the top spot with an average yearly precipitation of 130.6 inches (3317mm).
Whether you love or hate the rain, it’s always good to have an idea of what to expect on a big trip. If you’re planning a trip to one of the rainiest cities in the U.S.A., you should double check the weather, and make sure you bring all the necessities—a raincoat, boots, and an umbrella!
Places with highest total yearly precipitation averages in the contiguous states
- Aberdeen Reservoir, Washington, 130.6 inches (3317 millimeters)
- Laurel Mountain, Oregon, 122.3 in. (3106 mm)
- Forks, Washington, 119.7 in. (3041 mm)
- North Fork Nehalem Park, Oregon, 118.9 in. (3020 mm)
- Mt Rainier, Paradise Station, Washington, 118.3 in. (3005 mm)
- Port Orford, Oregon, 117.9 in. (2995 mm)
- Humptulips, Washington, 115.6 in. (2937 mm)
- Swift Reservoir, Washington, 112.7 in. (2864 mm)
- Naselle, Washington, 112.0 in. (2845 mm)
- Clearwater State Park, Washington, 108.9 in. (2766 mm)
- Baring, Washington, 106.7 in. (2710 mm)
- Grays River Hatchery, Washington, 105.6 in. (2683 mm)
The question of more pressing interest to most travelers is: "Which U.S. cities get the most precipitation each year?" The following stats from NOAA-NCDC show the top 15 wettest cities in the U.S. The majority of the wettest cities in the nation are located in the Southeast, although New York City comes up at #7 on this list.
Major US cities that get over 45 inches (1143 millimeters) of precipitation a year
- New Orleans, Louisiana, 62.7 inches (1592 millimeters)
- Miami, Florida, 61.9 in. (1572 mm)
- Birmingham, Alabama, 53.7 in. (1364 mm)
- Memphis, Tennessee, 53.7 in. (1364 mm)
- Jacksonville, Florida, 52.4 in. (1331 mm)
- Orlando, Florida, 50.7 in. (1289 mm)
- New York, New York, 49.9 in. (1268 mm)
- Houston, Texas, 49.8 in. (1264 mm)
- Atlanta, Georgia, 49.7 in. (1263 mm)
- Nashville, Tennessee, 47.3 in. (1200 mm)
- Providence, Rhode Island, 47.2 in. (1198 mm)
- Virginia Beach, Virginia, 46.5 in. (1182 mm)
- Tampa, Florida, 46.3 (1176 mm)
- Raleigh, North Carolina, 46.0 in. (1169 mm)
- Hartford, Connecticut, 45.9 in. (1165 mm)
Finally, NOAA-NCDC provides information on U.S. cities where it rains or snows more than 130 days annually. The majority of the cities in the top 10 are those near the Great Lakes, which are very prone to heavy lake-effect precipitation that makes.
Large US cities where it rains or snows on more than 130 days each year
- Rochester, New York, 167 days
- Buffalo, New York, 167 days
- Portland, Oregon, 164 days
- Cleveland, Ohio, 155 days
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 151 days
- Seattle, Washington, 149 days
- Columbus, Ohio, 139 days
- Cincinnati, Ohio, 137 days
- Miami, Florida, 135 days
- Detroit, Michigan, 135 days
The above data are based on the NOAA-NCDC Normals measured from 1981 to 2010, this is the latest information currently available.