What Are the Worst U.S. Cities for Rainfall?
July 9, 2020
Don't assume Seattle's rainy reputation would mean it tops the list of the rainiest cities in the United States. The reality is that the cities that have the highest number of rainy days don't always line up with the cities that get the largest volume of precipitation.
For example, the St. Louis metropolitan area isn't typically considered to be rainy, but in 2019, the wet conditions were record-breaking. A total of 54 inches of precipitation fell during the city's 88 rainy days. There was widespread flooding throughout the Missouri River Basin, 16 major disasters were declared, and rivers were above flood stage for more than 300 days.
Where exactly are the worst U.S. cities for rainfall?
Let's look at two rankings of the rainiest cities in the U.S. — one that ranks the major U.S. cities that have the highest number of rainy days and another that ranks American cities that receive the most precipitation.
Which Places Had the Most Rainfall in 2019?
Rain patterns vary each year. In 2019, the annual precipitation report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the significant rainfall that happened in the Midwest.
Many of these central states broke records for the wettest year ever recorded.
For example, Starkville, MS, typically receives about 55 inches of rain per year, but in 2019, rainfall was about 90 inches. This prompted the city's engineering department to begin planning for stormwater management, drainage systems, and flood mitigation.
Throughout the Midwest, there was damage to roads, bridges, rail lines, and dams. Estimates show the homes of nearly 14 million people throughout the Midwest and South were affected. In Missouri, there was an uptick in interest in water management systems including sump pumps and basement waterproofing both as water management solutions and as preventative measures.
While the Midwest was flooding, other areas of the country had the opposite weather pattern. The Pacific Northwest and areas of the Southeast both received much lower levels of precipitation than is typical.
Precipitation data were collected from weather stations across the country. The cumulative data shows which cities in the U.S. had the most average annual rainfall and precipitation.
30 Cities with the Most Precipitation in 2019
- Beaumont City, TX — 93.7 inches of rain
- Starkville, MS — 89.56 inches of rain
- Portland, AR — 85.78 inches of rain
- Fayette, AL — 83.57 inches of rain
- Seneca, MO — 81.09 inches of rain
- Lynchburg, TN — 80.15 inches of rain
- Arkabutla, MS — 79.15 inches of rain
- Independence, MS — 78.2 inches of rain
- Greenville, MS — 78.2 inches of rain
- Gravette, AR — 77.21 inches of rain
- Rohwer, AR — 76.82 inches of rain
- Spavinaw, OK — 76.68 inches of rain
- Hernando, MS — 76.56 inches of rain
- Marianna, AR — 76.4 inches of rain
- Addison, AL — 73.17 inches of rain
- Newcomb, TN — 72.99 inches of rain
- Black Rock, AR — 72.32 inches of rain
- Paragould, AR — 71.38 inches of rain
- Compton, AR — 71.15 inches of rain
- Altamont, KS — 71.02 inches of rain
- Girard, KS — 70.6 inches of rain
- Springfield, TN — 70.5 inches of rain
- Nevada, MO — 70.34 inches of rain
- Lucas, KY — 69.89 inches of rain
- Bartlett, KS — 69.78 inches of rain
- Parsons, KS — 69.59 inches of rain
- McMinnville, TN — 68.3 inches of rain
- Mound Valley, KS — 68.2 inches of rain
- Rochester, KY — 67.94 inches of rain
- Oneida, KY — 67.75 inches of rain
Which Cities Have The Most Rainy Days?
The other way to measure the rainiest cities in the U.S. is to look at the number of rainy days per year.
Keep in mind that weather patterns vary. Rainy days don't necessarily mean gloomy days.
For example, in the city of Hilo on the eastern shore of Hawaii's Big Island, it rains about three out of every four days. The regular rainstorms contribute to the island's lush beauty, picturesque rainbows, and dramatic waterfalls.
On the other hand, Alaska is home to many of the wettest cities, but in these cases, the weather events aren't tropical rainstorms but snow squalls. Similarly, the Lake Effect in upstate New York brings moisture down from the Great Lakes, and many of these cities also see a large number of days with precipitation.
The data below from NOAA shows the average number of days per year where each city had at least 0.01 inch of precipitation, including rain and snow.
30 Cities With The Most Rainy/Snowy Days
- Hilo, HI — 276 days per year
- Cold Bay, AK — 236 days per year
- Yakutat, AK — 228 days per year
- Annette, AK — 226 days per year
- Juneau, AK — 224 days per year
- Mt. Washington, NH — 213 days per year
- St. Paul Island, AK — 208 days per year
- Quillayute, WA — 207 days per year
- Kodiak, AK — 198 days per year
- Lihue, HI — 196 days per year
- Astoria, OR — 194 days per year
- Valdez, AK — 177 days per year
- Elkins, WV — 173 days per year
- Syracuse, NY — 172 days per year
- Buffalo, NY — 167 days per year
- Sault Ste. Marie, MI — 165 days per year
- Olympia, WA — 163 days per year
- Binghamton, NY — 162 days per year
- Rochester, NY — 162 days per year
- Erie, PA — 162 days per year
- Caribou, ME — 159 days per year
- Youngstown, OH — 159 days per year
- Beckley, WV — 159 days per year
- Akron, OH — 156 days per year
- Cleveland, OH — 156 days per year
- Seattle, WA — 156 days per year
- Burlington, VT — 155 days per year
- King Salmon, AK — 154 days per year
- Pittsburgh, PA — 154 days per year
- Portland, OR — 153 days per year
Are you concerned about heavy rains in your area? Get a free inspection from your local Groundworks basement waterproofing and foundation repair experts.