The driest and wettest places in the world

It seems like every week there is something to report about all the extremes that are happening in the United States and around the world. According to Cliff’s records, this is the coolest spring on record so far in Coeur d’Alene. Average temperatures in the region are on average at least 5 degrees below normal. We finally had a high in the 70s last week, 74 to be exact, the longest stretch in recorded history with highs below 70 degrees. Prior to last week, the last time the readings were in the 70s was October 5, 2021.

As I mentioned earlier, the cooler and wetter than average weather pattern is expected to continue through at least early to mid-June as the upper level jet stream continues to steer these cool storms into our area. . We will end May precipitation above normal 2.37 inches. Average June rainfall in Coeur d’Alene is 1.93 inches, and I think there’s a good chance we’ll see over 2 inches of moisture next month. However, Cliff and I believe that we will eventually see a major shift to the warmer and drier side than normal, either mid-June to late June, or July. These extreme patterns can easily change the weather in a hurry, especially here in the Interior Northwest.

With all the extremes happening on our planet, I get questions from time to time about the wettest and driest places.

For the wettest place in the world, Cherrapunji, located in the Khasi Hills of Assam in northeast India, holds the all-time world record for 12 consecutive months. From August 1860 to July 1861, Cherrapunji measured an incredible amount of 1,041.78 inches of precipitation, which is almost 87 feet of rain!

The city of Lloro, Colombia, South America, says more than 1,100 inches of precipitation fell in the 1936 calendar year as the United States suffered the peak of the 1930s Dust Bowl.

The wettest place in the 50 states is located along the eastern slopes of Mount Waialeale at 5,075 feet on the island of Kauai. The average annual rainfall on Mount Waialeale over the past 60 years has been approximately 462.47 inches. Pu’u Kukui on the island of Maui at 4,125 feet has an average of 413.61 inches per year and holds the US annual rainfall record of 705.44 inches set during the El Nino year of 1982. Pu’u Kukui also holds the American monthly record for most precipitation set in March 1942 with 107.34 inches.

The wettest place in North America is southeast of Little Port Arthur in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Lake Henderson averages 256.43 inches of precipitation per year.

The United States claims the wettest year on record in 1976, when the weather station at MacLeod Harbor in Alaska measured an incredible 332.26 inches of rain. Of that total, 71.80 inches fell in November, also a North American record.

Here in the Inland Empire, the highest rainfall Spokane International Airport has ever recorded for an entire year was 26.07 inches in 1948. Coeur d’Alene measured its record annual rainfall total of 43, 27 inches in 2012.

The driest place on Earth is the Atacama Desert in Chile, about 18 degrees south of the equator. Often years pass without any measurable humidity being measured in a small village called Arica. A nearby town, Iquique, went 11.5 years without rain, from November 1945 to May 1957. Normal annual rainfall in Arica is just 0.03 inches. Iquique averages just 0.07 inches.

The polar regions are also extremely dry. The South Pole station in Antarctica over the past five decades has averaged just 0.08 inches of snowmelt. Arctic Bay, located in the Northwest Territories of Canada, averages just 0.09 inches of humidity in a calendar year. The driest year ever was 1949 with 0.05 inches of precipitation.

The longest rainless period ever recorded in the country occurred in Baghdad, California, when no measurable rain fell for 767 consecutive days from October 3, 1912, to November 8, 1914—that’s more than two full years!

Locally in the Inland Empire, the driest year on record for Spokane and Coeur d’Alene was 1929, the year the stock market crashed. Only 7.54 inches of precipitation was measured in Spokane in 1929 compared to the annual normal of about 16½ inches. Coeur d’Alene, much wetter with an average rainfall since 1895 of 26.77 inches, measured 15.18 inches in 1929.

SPECIAL NOTE: I personally wanted to wish Mike and Sholeh Patrick the best as they relocate to Florida. I’ve worked with Mike since April 2004 when we launched the daily weather page. Throughout my time with the press, Mike has been a great boss, but more importantly, a great friend, especially during very difficult times. Good luck Mike and Sholeh!

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Contact Randy Mann at [email protected]

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