There is a severe drought in many western states and the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) has the following states as having the driest conditions: Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Montana, and New Mexico. Since March 8, 2022, those states have the most severe drought conditions. Droughts can have an impact on agriculture, livestock and water supply levels. Other parts of the nation have consistently high levels of rainfall and are considered the wettest areas. Seattle, Washington is one of the cloudiest cities but is it one of the wettest? Anchorage, Alaska is pretty cloudy most of the year as well, but they mostly have snow. So what are the 10 wettest cities in the United States?
What Makes a City the Wettest?
The NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information compiles data on the annual precipitation of major cities as well as the number of rainy days. We will look at the cities that have had the most average precipitation from data between 1991-2020.
10. Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida is located in western Florida on the Gulf Coast. Tampa has 108 rainy days a year which is 30% of the days. Their annual average rainfall is 49.5 inches with August being the rainiest month. In August the average rainfall is 7.6 inches followed second by July with 6.49 inches.
9. New York, New York
The city that never sleeps is also the city that is one of the wettest. New York has more precipitation days than Tampa but in the cooler winter months they have snow instead of rain. They have 125 precipitation days accounting for 34% of the days. The average precipitation is a tie with Tampa with 49.5 inches.
8. Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is located in northcentral Georgia and is the capitol of the state. They have an average annual rainfall of 50.4 inches and 116 rainy days. In 2009 Atlanta had several record breaking rainfalls in a row causing the Flood of 2009. From September 5-22 there was flash flooding and many of the waterways overflowed. On September 21 there was a record breaking 21.03 inches of rain that fell in a 24-hour period!
7. Nashville, TN
Nashville is at the heart of Tennessee, with the Grand ol’ Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame. If you want to keep your cowboy boots dry you are going to want to check the forecast before going out. 34% of the days are precipitation days with 124 days a year. Most of that is in the form of rain but Nashville does get an average of 4.2 inches of snow each year. They receive an average of 50.5 inches of precipitation each year, just a tad more than Atlanta.
6. Orlando, FL
If you have visited Orlando then you know about the “afternoon shower” where the sky clouds up, dumps a bunch of rain and then clears relatively quickly. So although Orlando has 130 rainy days a year, it is often is short bursts preceded and followed by beautiful sun. The average rainfall in Orlando is 51.5 inches.
5. Memphis, TN
Another Tennessee city, Memphis sits along the mighty Mississippi River. In May of 2011 there were a few major storms that caused the Mississippi to overflow and flood Memphis. The combination of the storms and the spring melt was too much for the river banks to hold. On May 10th the Mississippi River was recorded at 48.03 feet, flooding much of the surrounding area. Other states like Arkansas and Mississippi were also hit hard with the effects of the flooding. In a normal year the average precipitation in Memphis is 54.9 inches with 111 precipitation days.
4. Houston, TX
You would think that Texas is hot and dry, and you would be mostly right, but Houston has 107 rainy days dropping 55.6 inches of water. Not as many rainy days as the rest of our list so far, but more rain per day. Being located just off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico makes for weather systems that can bring heavy rains. In Houston, June is the rainiest month and February is the driest. In February of 2021, the statistics would need to reflect snow accumulation as well. Houston was hit as part of the Texas snow storm of 2021. The unprecedented amount of snow shut down roads, businesses and brought the power grid to a halt. Houston was not hit hard but cities like Austin and San Antonio were severely impacted.
3. Birmingham, AL
Located in the middle of the state, Birmingham is along what they call “Dixie Alley” an area known for tornadoes. They have two different tornado seasons whit wild weather rolling off the Appalachian Mountains. There are 118 precipitation days with most of their precipitation being rain. There is an occasional snow fall with a few weeks in January getting cool enough to convert the rain to snow. The average precipitation in Birmingham is 56.6 inches.
2. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. They have heavy rainfalls and are prone to hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina was a devastating hurricane that nearly wiped out the whole city. On August 29, 2005, the hurricane hit New Orleans with some areas getting 7-8 inches of water. The winds and water caused the levee to fail and by the next day 80% of the city was underwater. The flooding affected local wildlife and displaced hundreds of alligators. This was one of the deadliest hurricanes with 1,800 people dying during or soon after the hurricane. In a typical year they have some smaller tropical storms and 115 rainy days. The average rainfall for the year is 63.4 inches.
1. Miami, FL
Miami is the wettest city in the United States. They have 141 rainy days on average each year, that’s 39% of the days! As a city on the Atlantic Ocean they experience a lot of afternoon showers like Orlando, with rains lasting for short periods, but they still receive the most rain with 67.4 inches of rain a year…that is more than 5 ½ feet of rain! In the past 10 years the temperature in Miami has not dipped below 40°, so that is all rain, no snow. If you are heading out in Miami it is probably safest to just bring your umbrella, especially if you are going out in the afternoon.