Top 10 Annual Rainfall Totals
The world has such varied weather. There are very dry deserts, temperate climates with some rain and places where it tends to drizzle a lot. Then there are the places where it really, really buckets down.
Just to be clear, 1000mm (a bit over 39 inches) of rain means that the entire landscape in that area has had 1 metre (3ft 3in) of water poured on it. The highest recorded rainfall in a 24 hour period was at Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. 1.825 metres (71.8 inches) of rain fell there during Tropical Cyclone Denise in 1966.
10. Yakushima, Japan
Yakushima is an island that lies off the southern tip of Japan’s southern most island, Kyushu. It is just over 500 sq km in size with a population of just over 13,000 people. It is Japan’s wettest place and experiences quite hot and humid weather from May through to September. It rains all year, but picks up in March and is particularly wet in June.
Average annual rainfall: 4,826 mm (190in)
Highest recorded total: 7,760 mm (305 in) in 1994
9. Monrovia, Liberia
Monrovia is the capital city of Liberia, a small country at the bottom corner of West Africa. It is on a peninsula that lies between the Atlantic Ocean and Mesurado River. The weather here follows a typical tropical monsoon cycle with a wet season and a dry season. The temperature varies little throughout the year with maximums staying between 28-32C (82-90F). It rains less in the dry season, particularly January-March and is extremely wet May through to October.
Average annual rainfall: 5,100 mm (200 in)
Highest recorded total: 8,430 mm (332 in) in 1983
8. Kikori, Papua New Guinea
Kikori is a small town on the delta of the Kikori River which runs from the mountains in the centre of the country south into the Gulf of Papua. It is a sparsely populated area with dense rainforest and mountainous terrain. The temperature hovers around 30C (86F) for most of the year. Kikori has a tropical climate with the wet season running from December through to May. Expect plenty of rain during these months.
Average annual rainfall: 5,840 mm (230 in)
Highest recorded total: 10,270 mm (404 in) in 1993
7. Henderson Lake, Canada
Henderson Lake is a lake on Vancouver Island just off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. High mountains in the centre of the island create a ‘rain shadow’ whereby clouds and moist air are forced up into the atmosphere where colder temperatures cause the moisture to condense and fall as rain.
Rainfall here is heaviest in the autumn and winter months.
Average annual rainfall: 6,502 mm (256in)
Highest recorded total: 9,307 mm (366 in) in 1997
6. Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound is a spectacular fjord on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, not far from the famous skiing town of Queenstown. It rains here, on average, every second day and the rainfall totals are pretty evenly spread across the year although December and January are slightly higher than the other months.
The Milford Track, which runs between Milford Sound and Queenstown, is one of the most famous and spectacular walking tracks in the world. Take your wet weather gear!
Average annual rainfall: 6,810 mm (268 inches)
Highest recorded total: 18,442 mm (726 in) in 1997-98
The highest recorded total was taken at Cropp River which is in the same general area as the Milford Sound.
5. Mount Bellenden Ker, Australia
Mount Bellenden Ker is located just south of Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia. The climate here is tropical with a wet and dry season producing very heavy rains from December through to April. Bellenden Ker and the neighbouring Mount Barle Frere (Queensland’s highest mountain) are very close to the Coral Sea coast, rising sharply to around 1,600 m (5,250 ft) causing a rain shadow in the area.
Average annual rainfall: 8,636 mm per annum (340 in)
Highest recorded total: 12,461 mm (490 in) in 2000
4. Debundscha, Cameroon
Debundscha is a village on the South Atlantic coast of Cameroon in West/Central Africa. It lies almost on the equator at the foot of Mount Cameroon, a mountain that rises from sea level to over 4,000 m (13,000 ft).
The rainfall here is tropical and very seasonal with the wettest months being May through to October. December through to February are relatively dry. The average maximum temperature varies between 28C (82F) and 33C (92F).
Average annual rainfall: 10,300 mm per annum (405 in)
Highest recorded total: 14,270 mm (562 in) in 1972
3. Mount Waialeale, Hawaii
Mount Waialeale is an ancient volcano on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. It rises sharply from coastal lowlands to a height of 1,560 m (5,140 ft), forcing the moist air to cool very quickly and drop as rain in a concentrated area. There is also a ‘trade wind inversion layer’ at 1,800 m (6,000 ft) which acts to trap the rising moist air.
The area has a tropical climate although the rainfall is fairly consistent throughout the year. All months are very wet but April is particularly so.
Average annual rainfall: 11,500 mm (452 in)
Highest recorded total: 17,300 mm (683 in) in 1982
2. Cherrapunji/Mawsynram, India
Cherrapunji, also known as Sohra, is a town in Meghalaya, India; not far from Bangladesh. It sits on a plateau at around 1,500 m (1,870 ft), higher than the surrounding countryside.
The climate is subtropical and the town is impacted by the monsoons experienced in the region. Rains are particularly heavy from April through to October. The other months are relatively dry. Due to altitude, the average maximum temperature is around 20C (68F).
Average annual rainfall: 11,872 mm (467 in)
Highest recorded total: 26,461 mm (1,041 in) in 1860-61
These two villages share this record. They are 16 kms apart and so we are treating them as one. The highest recorded total is higher than the following entry.
1. Lloro (Choco), Colombia
Lloro lies at the base of mountains on the coastal plains that line the Pacific Ocean in Columbia. As with many of the wettest places in the world, the mountains play a part in forcing moist air into the colder atmosphere to create the rain.
The climate is, unsurprisingly, tropical. Rain is consistent throughout the year but particularly heavy in August through to December. In the wettest months it will rain 20 days of the month, in the drier months only 11 or 12 days of the month.
Average annual rainfall: 13,300 mm (400 in)
Highest recorded total: 26,303 mm (1,035 in) in 1974
The highest recorded total is for the town of Tutunendo which is not far from Lloro and also in the Choco department.
Cherrapunji, India, holds the record for the most rain in one month. 9,296 mm (366 in). If averaged across 30 days that’s more than 1/3 of a metre, every day, for 30 straight days.
16 million tonnes of rain is falling onto the earth at any one point in time.
Water droplets (rain) vary in size from 0.1 up to 9 mm (0.0039 to 0.35 in).
If all the water in the atmosphere was to fall as rain at the same time it would cover the Earth in 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water.