From cold, grey, rainy climates, to places where tropical storms are the norm, some countries and cities are significantly wetter than others. Whether they have high levels of precipitation throughout the year, or have extreme rainy seasons, this list looks at the places with the highest yearly levels of rainfall from around the world.
1. Cherrapunji, India (971 cm of annual rainfall)
Cherrapunji, in India, takes the spot of number one wettest place on earth, with an average of a whopping 971 cm of rain each year. In 2010, the area registered its wettest recorded year, with 1346 cm of rain. The landscape of Cherrapunji dictates the climate, and the rainfall due in large part to its high elevation, and proximity to the Shillong Plateau. Here, warm and humid monsoon air rises, but drops in temperature quickly as it rises through the elevation. This causes the humid air to condense, resulting in rain. The high levels of rainfall help to feed the many waterfalls in the area, as well as local vegetation such as rubber trees, which have formed living root bridges in the area.
2. Bagadó, Colombia (657 cm of annual rainfall)
The second wettest place on earth has an average of 657 cm of rain each year. While August is usually the month with the highest precipitation levels, the ‘wet season’ in Bagadó lasts for nine months of the year, making for an extremely wet climate. Bagadó is also located along the banks of the Río Andagueda River, and when precipitation levels are high, the river has been known to flood its banks, causing damage and danger to the residents and homes in the area.
3. Kolonia, Federated States Of Micronesia (429 cm of annual rainfall)
Kolonia is located on Pohnpei State, an island in the pacific ocean west of the Marshall Islands and North of Solomon Islands. It has a very similar climate to Fono Island, and averages 429 cm of rainfall each year. Temperatures are consistent throughout the year, at roughly 29 degrees celsius, and the rainfall is similarly year round. Their wettest year had 531 cm of rain, and in years like this, flooding has been a major problem. On a more positive note, the humid rainy climate makes for a lush, green landscape full of dense vegetation.
4.Taman Desa Wira, Malaysia (422 cm of annual rainfall)
Also in Malaysia, is the fourth most rainy place, Taman Desa Wira. Located on the island of Borneo, it is just north of the equator, and has an intense tropical climate. Though temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year, Taman Dea Wira experiences a wet monsoon season from November to April, and averages 422 cm of rain each year. In the wet season, flash flooding can occur, and often force evacuations or temporary relocations of residents in the affected areas.
5. Bintulu, Malaysia (389 cm of annual rainfall)
Bintulu ranks number five on the list of wettest cities in the world, with an average 389 cm of rain each year. This coastal city has a tropical rainforest climate, and is generally wet and humid throughout most of the year. Flash floods and extreme rain are common, especially during January, which has the highest level of rainfall. The area tends to have 300 or more days of the year with rain, making for a lush green environment.
6. Villavicencio, Colombia (375 cm of annual rainfall)
Villavincencio is a city in central Colombia, which is situated at the foot of the Andes mountain as the peaks transition into the Los Llanos plains. The city is also situated beside the Guatiquía River. The climate is considered to be marine west coast, and heavy rains are common, rolling in from the mountains. The proximity of the river poses a flooding risk to the area in times of extreme rain, and mudslides often wash down from the higher elevations, doing large amounts of damage to parts of the city. Villavicencio logs an average of 375 cm of rain each year.
7. Sittwe, Myanmar (370 cm of annual rainfall)
Sittwe has an annual rainfall of 370 cm, and its wettest month is usually July, which averages 132 cm of rain. Myanmar, and Sittwe more specifically has a tropical monsoon climate, where the wet seasons experience extreme and frequent bouts of rain, but also have an extremely dry season for much of the rest of the year.
8. Fono Island, Federated States Of Micronesia (357 cm of annual rainfall)
Fono Island is an island directly east of the Philippines, and North of the Solomon Islands. Fairly remote, and surrounded by open ocean, Fono Island and its neighbouring islands are nestled in the Chuuk Lagoon. The Island receives an average of 357cm of rain annually, with its heaviest rains falling in September. The island itself has an extremely low elevation, at only 55 meters above sea level, so flooding and rising sea levels are of concern. During the wet season, long periods of rain may occur, along with potential tropical storm conditions.
9. Sibu, Malaysia (356 cm of annual rainfall)
Sibu is located in East Malaysia, and is a river city which sits at the forks of the Rajang and Igan rivers. On average it gets 356 cm of rain per year, but has had up to 490 cm in its rainiest year in 2016. The city has a tropical rainforest climate, experiencing heavy rians in January and surrounding months. Its location along the waterfront also means that the extreme rain and strong winds cause major waves which can flood the banks of the city, causing considerable damage.
10. Cayenne, French Guiana (355 cm of annual rainfall)
Cayenne is the capital of French Guiana, on the eastern coast of South America. The city experiences an average of 355 cm of rain each year, primarily between April and June, with May historically being the wettest month. This climate is considered to be a tropical monsoon type climate, where patterns of extreme rain and storms hit the coast for a few months every year.
Each of these cities, islands, coastal towns or rainforest areas has an exceptionally high amount of rain. Additionally, proximity to oceans or rivers often lead to flooding or monsoon weather, further increasing the risks from high precipitation. But each boasts its own climate, vegetation, and peoples which have adapted to the heavy rain seasons, or humid climates, in order to experience life in these wettest of places.