The Wettest Places in the USA

The Wettest Places in the US

TripSavvy / Theresa Chiechi

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, however . 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!

Major Cities With Highest Total Yearly Precipitation Averages for 2022

  1. New Orleans, Louisiana, 85.9 inches (2,182 mm)
  2. Birmingham, Alabama, 72.3 inches (1,836 mm)
  3. Miami, Florida, 66.8 inches (1,697 mm)
  4. Nashville, Tennesee, 63.3 inches (1,608 mm)
  5. New York City, New York, 61.8 inches (1,570 mm)
  6. Charleston, South Carolina, 56.4 inches (1,432 mm)
  7. Atlanta, Georgia, 53.6 inches (1,361 mm)
  8. Boston, Massachusetts, 52.7 inches (1,339 mm)
  9. Houston, Texas, 51 inches (1,295)
  10. Tampa Bay, Florida, 50 inches (1,270 mm)

U.S. Cities That Get Over 45 Inches (1,143 Millimeters) of Precipitation a Year

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 some of the wettest cities in the U.S. based on the average annual precipitation measured over 30 years. ​​

  1. New Orleans, Louisiana, 62.5 inches (1,587 millimeters)
  2. Miami, Florida, 61.9 in. (1,572 mm)
  3. Birmingham, Alabama, 53.7 in. (1,364 mm)
  4. Memphis, Tennessee, 53.7 in. (1,364 mm)
  5. Orlando, Florida, 53.2 in. (1,351 mm)
  6. Houston, Texas, 52.7 in. (1,338 mm)
  7. Jacksonville, Florida, 52.4 in. (1,331 mm)
  8. New York, New York, 49.9 in. (1,268 mm)
  9. Tampa, Florida, 46.3 in. (1,176 mm)
  10. Atlanta, Georgia, 49.7 in. (1,263 mm)
  11. Providence, Rhode Island, 47.2 in. (1,199 mm)
  12. Nashville, Tennessee, 47.2 in. (1,199 mm)
  13. Key West, Floria, 46.8 in (1,189 mm)
  14. Norfolk, Virginia, 46.5 in. (1,182 mm)
  15. Louisville, Kentucky, 45.2 in (1,148 mm)

Large US Cities Where It Rains or Snows on More Than 130 Days Each Year

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.

  1. Buffalo, New York, 167 days
  2. Rochester, New York, 162 days
  3. Cleveland, Ohio, 156 days
  4. Seattle, Washington, 156 days
  5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 154 days
  6. Portland, Oregon, 153 days
  7. Columbus, Ohio, 138 days
  8. Detroit, Michigan, 136 days
  9. Miami, Florida, 134 days
  10. Cincinnati, Ohio, 132 days

The above data are based on the NOAA-NCDC Normals measured from 1981 to 2020, this is the ​latest information currently available.