The United States is a vast country with extremely varied geography. As a result, different parts of the country experience a range of rainfall patterns, in terms of both amount and frequency. The Climate Corporation (founded as WeatherBill), which is based in San Francisco, has compiled a list of the rainiest cities in the country by comparing precipitation data in 195 cities across the 48 contiguous US states. The study determined that most of the rainiest cities in the US were located in the southeastern part of the country. Surprisingly, cities in the Pacific Northwest, which are often perceived as wet and rainy, did not rank among the top ten, although Olympia, Washington, which falls within the Northwest, was ranked the 24th rainiest US city.
The Five Wettest Cities in the US
1. Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the wettest city in the US. Located in Mobile County, Alabama, where it serves as the county seat, the city is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and experiences a mild subtropical climate. Summers in Mobile are hot and humid, while winters are rainy and mild. It is the rainiest city in the US and receives an average annual rainfall of 69 inches. Additionally, Mobile experiences an average of 59 rainy days each year. Rainfall in Mobile occurs throughout the year and is often accompanied by thunderstorm activity. The city has also been struck by tropical storms and even hurricanes.
2. Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the second wettest city in the US. Located in Escambia County, Florida, where it serves as county seat. Pensacola experiences a humid subtropical climate, in which summers are hot and humid and winters are mild and short. During the summer months, Pensacola has frequent thunderstorms during afternoons and evenings. The city receives an average annual rainfall of 65 inches and records an average of 56 rainy days each year. July is the city's rainiest month, while May is the driest. Tropical storms are not uncommon in the city, and beaches near Pensacola sometimes experience waterspout formations. The city's location on the Florida Panhandle makes it prone to major hurricanes. For example, Hurricane Ivan, which occurred in 2004, was one of the deadliest hurricanes to strike the city.
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is the most populous city in the state of Louisiana and is located on the Mississippi River. Like Mobile and Pensacola, the city experiences a humid subtropical climate. The city receives an average annual rainfall of 64 inches, which is the third highest in the US. New Orleans also experiences an average of 59 rainy days each year, most of which occur during the summer months, while October is the driest month. Several factors, such as the city's low elevation, its sinking coast, and the fact that it is surrounded by water on three sides, makes New Orleans more vulnerable to hurricanes than other US cities. Historically, hurricanes like Hurricane George and the 1947 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane have ravaged the city, resulting in deaths and significant destruction to property.
4. West Palm Beach, Florida
The city of West Palm Beach is the county seat of Florida’s Palm Beach County. The city experiences a tropical rainforest climate that is influenced by trade winds. The wet season lasts from May to October, during which the weather is hot and humid, and heavy afternoon showers are common. In contrast, the dry season occurs from November until April. West Palm Beach receives an average annual rainfall of 63 inches and has an average of 58 rainy days each year. West Palm Beach is also prone to hurricanes, primarily in the peak months, which occur from August unitil October.
5. Lafayette, Louisiana
With 62 inches of average annual rainfall, Lafayette, Louisiana ranks as the fifth-rainiest city in the US. The city experiences an average of 55 rainy days each year. Lafayette serves as the parish seat of Lafayette Parish and is located along the Vermilion River. The city experiences a humid subtropical climate, and rainfall occurs throughout the year but is more frequent during the summer months.
Why Do Southeast Cities Dominate the Rainy List?
Many of the wettest cities in the US are located in the southeastern part of the country. This is explained by that fact that the region’s climate is influenced by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Storms are common in the region, especially from June until November. Therefore, the southeastern states, especially Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana, are the wettest in the country. Additionally, studies have revealed that the Southeast appears to be getting wetter over time.
Why Are Cities in Hawaii and Alaska Not on the List?
The study did not include cities in the two non-contiguous US states of Hawaii and Alaska. Rainfall in many cities in these states exceeds that of the cities mentioned in the table below. In fact, Hawaii is the rainiest state in the country.