Do you think Seattle is the rainiest city in the United States? Well, think again.
Mobile, Alabama, actually topped a new list of soggiest cities in the 48 contiguous states, with more than 5 feet of rainfall annually, according to a study conducted by San Francisco-based WeatherBill, Inc. [How Weather Changed History]
The Southeast dominated the most rainy list, while the Pacific Northwest never enters the list until Olympia, Washington pops up at number 24.
The 10 rainiest cities in the U.S. by amount of annual rainfall include:
- Mobile, Ala.: 67 inches average annual rainfall; 59 average annual rainy days
- Pensacola, Fla.: 65 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
- New Orleans, La.: 64 inches average annual rainfall; 59 average annual rainy days
- West Palm Beach, Fla.: 63 inches average annual rainfall; 58 average annual rainy days
- Lafayette, La.: 62 inches average annual rainfall; 55 average annual rainy days
- Baton Rouge, La.: 62 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
- Miami, Fla.: 62 inches average annual rainfall; 57 average annual rainy days
- Port Arthur, Texas: 61 inches average annual rainfall; 51 average annual rainy days
- Tallahassee, Fla.: 61 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
- Lake Charles, La.: 58 inches average annual rainfall; 50 average annual rainy days
The study ranked 195 cities in the contiguous 48 states by the amount of rainfall they received annually over a 30-year period, although Olympia actually had the most rainy days on average across the three decades (63) of all the cities in the study. Mobile came in second on the latter scale, with 59 average annual rainy days. (Several cities in Alaska and Hawaii actually receive more than 100 inches of rain a year, but were not included in the study.)
Southeastern cities are so prevalent on the list because the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico fuel storms that frequently soak the region, particularly between June and November. [Rainfall Records Fall Across the Northeast]
The study also found that in the past 30 years, the East and Southeast seemed to be getting wetter, while the West got drier. Florida, Louisiana and Alabama were the wettest states, while California, Montana, Nevada and Arizona were the driest (Las Vegas took the top spot for driest city).
Average rainfall was highest in the United States between July and September and lowest between January and March.
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Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.