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The Rainiest Places on Earth

posted in: Strange  |  posted by: Ian Harrison on June 20, 2008  |  11 Comments

Before you venture off on vacation or even choose your destination, common sense dictates that you should consult the local weather authority. Many trips have ended in utter ruin because travelers, in their sheer innocence, were oblivious to monsoon season or the prevalence of sandstorms at a particular time of year.

So call ahead. Consult an Almanac. And unless you have some specific scientific or sadistic need, avoid these precipitation-prone places. With many at over an inch a day, they clearly rank as the rainiest inhabited regions in the world.

Crkvica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Although the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina is devoid of coastline, save for a scant shore of the Adriatic, it nonetheless receives a fair amount of rain, most notably in Crkvica. The town in Bosnia, just northwest of Sarajevo, consistently receives the highest annual average precipitation in Europe. So much for London’s reputation.

Crkvica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Henderson Lake, British Colombia, Canada

People who live outside of British Columbia in Canada, especially those in Toronto and Montreal, where long winters are the norm, love to chide residents of the province for their temperate but rainy climate. There is no small amount of jealousy behind the tactic, because not only is Vancouver – the main city in British Columbia – a beautiful place to live, it also happens to be the only place in Canada where one can golf in February. However, the rain is not just a cliche here, but a meteorological reality. Just ask residents of Henderson Lake.

Stay dry in beautiful Vancouver with a great hotel deal.

Henderson Lake, British Colombia, Canada

Andagoya, Colombia

We seldom think of Colombia as a country so pluvial but it does in fact have several climactic challenges that pose real threats. In fact, the country is a world rarity, in that it belongs to a select few with a classification as megadiverse. This superpower-like designation insinuates that Colombia, because of geographic position, has crazy weather fluctuations. Indeed, with five natural regions that include high mountains, tropical deserts and steppes, the rainy season here is notorious. The town of Andagoya, with a position smack dab on the thermal equator, has a temperature that rarely shifts more than a few degrees from month to month and in turn, receives torrents of rain.

Andagoya, Colombia

Bellenden Ker, Queensland, Australia

Another megadiverse country, perhaps more so than any other on the planet, is Australia. With desert, mountains, ocean and tropical rainforests, the country continent is unlike any other. The area of Bellenden Ker and indeed, the mountain of the same name, is a World Heritage Rainforest zone. A short drive from the city of Cairns, the region is lush, rife with exotic plant and animal life and indeed a victim of mass precipitation.

Bellenden Ker, Queensland, Australia

Quibdo, Colombia

Colombia proves to be wet all over once again with the town of Quibdo. Over 100,000 people live in the capital of the Choco Department, as the national divisions are known as. On the border of Panama and indeed, the gateway between South and Central America, the department and town receive some of the most zany weather in Colombia. Unfortunate because in addition – or perhaps because of which – Quidibo has some of the worst social conditions and economic track records in the country. In point of fact, despite record rainfall every year, the lowland town still manages to suffer from water shortages.

Quibd?, Colombia

Debundscha, Cameroon

Cameroon has a reputation for being one of the most exotic and beautiful nations in Africa. Indeed, it encompasses the principal features of the continent on a small scale, with hyper diversity in a region about the size of California. As a result of course, parts of Cameroon receive super heavy rainfall. This tends to be the case when you have ocean coastline, tropical forests, grasslands, deserts and mountains within close proximity to each other. At the base of Mount Cameroon and within plain view of the Bight of Biafra, Debundscha receives over 400 inches of rain a year.

Mount Cameroon

Cherrapunji, India

Another region with rainfall levels well above 400 inches, Cherrapunji shares another notorious distinction with other wet areas. In utter bewilderment and stark contrast to the weather, the town in the state of Meghalya confronts epic water shortage problems. Geography conspires to make Cherrapunji so wet and also devoid of potable water by the same token. At the confluence of the Kashi Hills and Bay of Bengal, the town receives both north and south monsoon showers that pound the area in a flash, only to flood down the plains of Bangladesh. No suprise then that Cherrapunji holds the record for most rainfall in one year at over 900 inches back in 1860-61.

Cherrapunji, India

Mount Waialeale, Kauai, Hawaii, United States of America

Although not exactly a residential area, the region around Mount Waialeale and indeed the summit, receives a ton of precipitation on a habitual basis. Tourism officials in Hawaii love to boast that this is the wettest place on the planet, although some in India and Colombia take issue with the claim. Whatever the case may be, the rainfall in Kauai is notable for the fact that it occurs with such daily regularity. Mount Waialeale bears the brunt of the precipitation because of a conical shape and pure geographical position relative to the ocean and trade winds. Although open to tourism, there are obvious physical impediments here due to the amount of rain that falls every day. In other words, the ground is super wet.

Kashi Hills, India

Mawsynram, India

Another village in the Kashi Hills in the state of Meghalya, Mawsynram proves once again that India is a complex and diverse country. A quick drive from Cherrapunji, the town records indicate more annual rainfall, although disputes about data accuracy have been rife as both regions fight for rainfall supremacy. Whatever the case may be, Mawsynram appears to have a more favorable – or is that cursed? – position in terms of proximity to the Bay of Bengal and steep incline of the Kashi Hills, which allows humid, moist air to ascend and in turn, blanket the area with rain.

Kashi Hills waterfalls, India

Lloro, Colombia

The town and municipality of Lloro is another area within the Choco Department of Colombia prone to rain. A lot of rain. With coastlines on the Pacific and Caribbean, unique in the country, the area is an ecological freak of sorts and as a result, the victim of zany phenomena. Average annual precipitation in the town of Lloro is 523.6 inches, which ranks it first in terms of wet world zones. With over 7,000 inhabitants, one has to wonder how people here cope with almost 1.5 inches of rain a day.

Choc?, Colombia

Responses to this Article

11 Responses to “The Rainiest Places on Earth”

  1. lakshay says on

    tese falls are not in mawsynram…….
    i recently visited there but they were not present there………
    you give wrong information……………….

  2. soccerflyer27 says on

    where is forks, washington state USA?

  3. Humberto says on

    Look for Tapanti National Park in Costa Rica: sometimes 350 inches of rain a year.

  4. robert tripp says on

    You correctly state that Crkvice is the rainiest town in Europe (about 5 meters per year), but err in locating it near Sarajevo in Bosnia. In fact it is about 100 miles to the south in Montenegro near the Bay of Kotor. See
    It is the site of a small ski resort and a nearby mountain Zubacki kabao, twice as high, with a higher annual rainfall of 6.25 meters!

  5. Shanda says on

    I know it is not the rainiest monsoonal place in the world but as far as a consistently rainy city Vancouver, rates pretty high!!! We have many visitors from around the world that come unprepared and complain that their stay was directed by the rainy days…

    All I can say is get a quality umbrella, waterproof rain coat and a sweet pair of rain boots and you will not look at the rain in the same way….our city is green and abundant with flowers…ENJOY!!!

  6. Ian says on

    I’m not sure why you used London as a reference in that context. London has one of the lowest levels of precipitation of any European Capital (around 43 cm). That is around half that of New York and 1/4 that of Seattle.

  7. Ian Harrison says on

    The reference to London had much more to do with common misconceptions and stereotypes about the city than actual precipitation levels. Cloudy, foggy, drizzly scenes of the English capital are ubiquitous, whether or not they accurately reflect average conditions on the ground.

    Average annual rainfall for London is still above New York City however – 58 cm versus 49 cm. Seattle is easily triple that.

  8. Randy says on

    Seattle might have a lot of drizzle but is nowhere near the rainiest city. Most, if not all cities in the eastern U.S. get more rain than Seattle.

    D.C.: 39″ (99 cm)
    NYC: 47″ (119 cm)
    Boston: 41″ (104 cm)
    Chicago: 38″ (95 cm)

    The real rainy in the U.S. are on the Gulf coast.
    Houston: 48″ (122 cm)
    Miami: 59″ (149 cm)
    New Orleans: 62″ (155 cm)
    Mobile: 67″ (170 cm)

    What does Seattle receive? Only 37″ (94 cm). Mountains a few hours to the west get a lot more rain, but Seattle lies in a rain shadow.

    London’s total precipitation is much, much less: 24″ (61 cm). That’s about HALF the amount that New York City gets.

  9. ragad says on

    its very beautiful places in the world

  10. Khan says on

    Just to enjoy rainy days of London, I was really thinking about booking a hotel in London through RatesToGo, or Expedia. Actually I thought that London was one of the rainiest places in the world – but your post has opened my eyes. Thanks a lot for this information about rainiest places on earth.

    Though now I see that many of these places actually do not have any hotels or even population. But I still want to visit these places.

    I love rainfall.

  11. ta26 says on

    Why isn’t Pohnpei, F.S.M. on the list?!?! The island averages 400 inches of rain per year.


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