What Is the Rainiest City in the U.S.? Here are the Top 11

By: Kate Kershner  | 
Person walking across a rainy street with their hood up and holding a coffee cup
Seattle has a reputation for rainy days, but there are other places in the U.S. that experience more precipitation. Rosanna U / Getty Images/Image Source

Seattle, Washington, has a reputation as one of the wettest cities in the United States, but it turns out it's not even close to having the most rain in the country. There are many other cities where it rains a lot more — especially if you consider hurricane season.

It turns out the rainiest city in the U.S. is actually located in the South.


Compiling a List of the Rainiest Cities in the U.S.

To make this list of the rainiest places in the U.S., we consulted the National Centers for Environmental Information U.S. Climate Normals and the 2020 U.S. Census. We made a list of the 100 most populous cities in the United States and then added the average annual precipitation in the period 2006-2020. We then ranked the cities by highest average annual rainfall.

We left off smaller cities like Hilo, on Hawaii's Big Island, which, at 147.65 inches (375.03 cm) of annual precipitation, receives more rainfall than anywhere on this list [source: NCEI].


10. Louisville, Kentucky

One of the few inland cities to receive heavy rainfall, Louisville, Kentucky, sits on the Ohio River and receives an average annual rainfall of 55.34 inches (140.56 cm) [source: NCEI].


9. Nashville, Tenessee

The Music City receives a surprising 56.45 inches (143.38 cm) of rain on average, thanks to its location on the Cumberland River [source: NCEI].


8. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Coastal cities tend to experience heavy rains due to the high evaporation rates of warm ocean water. Virginia Beach, situated on the state's southeast coast where Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, is no exception, receiving a yearly average of 56.55 inches (143.64 cm) of rain [source: NCEI].

Like most regions on the Atlantic coast, Virginia experiences afternoon showers and thunderstorms in the summer months thanks to the Bermuda High, a semipermanent high-pressure system that pulls north and west from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico [source: NCICS].


7. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee, famous for the blues, rock and soul music produced in the city, also produces an average annual precipitation of 58.77 inches (149.28 cm) [source: NCEI]. The inland city happens to sit on the Mississippi River.


6. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Rain doesn't necessarily mean gloomy days. Florida is home to three of the wettest cities in the U.S., including Port St. Lucie, which receives an average of 59.04 inches (149.96 cm) of rain each year [source: NCEI].

Located southwest of Orlando and Tampa, Port St. Lucie sits on the Atlantic coast, just north of the smaller (and even rainier) city of West Palm Beach, which has an annual rainfall of 64.87 inches (164.77 cm) [source: NCEI].


5. Tampa, Florida

Its location on the Gulf of Mexico means Tampa, Florida, receives plenty of rainfall, with an average annual precipitation of 59.17 inches (150.29 cm) [source: NCEI].


4. Houston, Texas

Texas may not be the first state you think of when picturing the rainiest cities in the United States. But the nation's second-largest state encompasses several different regions, each with their own climate.

Located on Gavelston Bay in the western Gulf of Mexico, Houston, Texas, receives 60.70 inches (154.18 cm) of rain in an average year [source: NCEI].


3. Miami, Florida

The subtropical state of Florida is the most humid state in the nation, with the highest number of thunderstorms in the contiguous United States. It's also increasingly vulnerable to hurricanes as the climate warms [source: NCICS].

Miami, the second-most populous city in Florida, receives an 61.72 inches (156.77 cm) of precipitation each year, on average.


2. Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville is the most populous city in Alabama, a surprisingly rainy state vulnerable to hurricanes, tornadoes, and tropical storms [source: NCICS]. Average annual precipitation in Huntsville is 63.48 inches (161.24 cm) [source: NCEI].

1. Tie: New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama

New Orleans, Louisiana, ties with Mobile, Alabama, for the title of wettest city in the U.S. — both have an annual average rainfall of 66.1 inches (167.89 cm) [source: NCEI, U.S. Climate Data].

In addition to year-round precipitation, the Louisiana coast is vulnerable to hurricanes. Louisiana's coastal cities, including New Orleans, experience severe hurricane-related flooding about once every three years.

The world witnessed the negative impacts of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. As the climate changes, extreme weather events are expected to increase in the area [source: NCICS].

Lots More Information

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  • National Climatic Data Center. "Extremes in U.S. Climate." Jan. 16, 2008. (Dec. 10, 2014) http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/extreme-us-climates.php
  • National Climatic Data Center. "Normals 1981-2010." 2010. (Dec. 10, 2014) http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ccd-data/nrmpcp.txt
  • Seattle.gov. "Seattle monthly averages and records." 2014. (Dec. 10, 2014) http://www.seattle.gov/living-in-seattle/environment/weather/averages-and-records
  • Sistek, Scott. "Aloha-Oy! Some parts of Hawaii get Seattle's yearly rain in a week." KOMO News. March 14, 2012. Dec. 10, 2014) http://www.komonews.com/weather/blogs/scott/Aloha-Oy-Some-parts-of-Hawaii-get-Seattles-yearly-rain-in-a-week-142678655.html
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