The Top Ten Wettest Places in the World
In the UK, we think we have it bad when it comes to rain. But it turns out, we don’t make it anywhere near the top in the list of the world’s wettest places!
Ever wondered which parts of the globe receive the most downpours every year? Here, the team at Fulton Umbrellas has brought together the ten rainiest locations in the world — and the reasons behind their disproportionate showers. Take a look to find out which countries should be investing in brollies — we’re sure there’ll be a few in here that will surprise you…
The village of Mawsynram in the state of Meghalaya, north-east India, currently holds the Guinness World Record as the wettest place on Earth. With an average rainfall of 11,872mm, Mawsynram experiences regular landslides and residents devote hours of their time to making a shell-like cover to keep rain off their heads and legs.
According to meteorologists, Mawsynram’s proximity to the Bay of Bengal and the inability of clouds to climb over the neighbouring Himalayas are to blame for the rain. So, there’s not much the village can do about it, apart from carry on soundproofing their roofs from the torrential downpours.
Following very closely behind Mawsynram with a history of disputing its Guinness World Record claim is Cherrapunji. Only 15km from Mawsynram, the villagers believe that they should hold the title. However, the annual rainfall of Cherrapunji is 11,777 — painfully close, but not enough to clinch the top spot.
Like Mawsynram, the unusually high rainfall in Cherrapunji is reportedly due to monsoon winds from the tropical Bay of Bengal, which come from both the north-east and south-west. Oddly, during winter when the monsoon season is over, the residents of Cherrapunji often have to prepare themselves for drought.
With an average rainfall of 11,770mm, the town of Tutunendo in northern Colombia has two rainy seasons and is found in the state, or department, of Choco.
Tutunendo’s climate is best described as a tropical rainforest: hot and humid with a very little wind and incredible precipitation. Rainfall is year-round, but the driest months are February and March — although, rain still happens 20 days in each of these months, on average.
Cropp River, New Zealand
The place with the highest rainfall in the southern hemisphere is believed to be the 5.6km-long Cropp River in New Zealand.
Although its average annual rainfall stands at 11,515mm, an incredible 1,049mm of rain fell in this area in December 1995 — a country record. Interestingly, most of the rain in this country lands in the mountains, not the plains, with Cleddau Valley — also on New Zealand’s southern island — being another popular place for rain clouds.
San Antonio de Ureca, Equatorial Guinea
This village in the African country of Equatorial Guinea is the wettest location on the continent with an average annual rainfall of 10,450mm.
Found 32km from the western coast of Africa, the best time to visit if you want to dodge the rain is between November and March. At any other time of year, you’ll probably have heavy downpours to handle.
The next rainiest place in Africa lies on the coast at the bottom of Mount Cameroon. Debundscha receives 10,299mm of rainfall every year, on average, and sits on the Atlantic coast.
Experts believe that the location’s heavy rainfall is due to three factors: the coast, the equator and the nearby mountain. Lying on the equator gives Debundscha its hot and humid climate, while the combination of the neighbouring ocean and 4,095 peak means that rain clouds can’t pass over the area.
Big Bog, Hawaii
The most aptly-named entry in the list, Big Bog on the Hawaiian island of Maui, is considered the wettest place in the US with an average annual rainfall of 10,272mm.
Found at the edge of Haleakala National Park, it wasn’t until 1992 that scientists installed a rain gauge to check if their rainfall estimations of the location— which stood at only 4,572mm per year — were correct. They were proven wrong and the 1994 data showed that there was precipitation at Big Bog of 14,224 over the year!
Mount Waialeale, Hawaii
With an average annual rainfall of 9,7363mm, Mount Waialeale in Hawaii just misses out on the title of wettest US destination.
The summit of Mount Waialeale (1,544m) on the island of Kauai was once believed to be the nation’s soggiest place before the experiment we looked at above proved this idea incorrect. However, the reason for the immense precipitation in this area is the same for both Big Bog and Mount Waialeale.
There’s a constant easterly wind that picks up moisture from the Pacific Ocean and blows it straight onto the steep Hawaiian peaks. These cool as they rise up the mountain, causing rain. Conversely, the larger peaks of Mauna Loa (4,169) and Mauna Kea (4,207m) are among the driest parts of the island state — but this is due to their greater height.
The third wettest place in the US, and ninth in the world, goes to Kukui (another, but final, Hawaiian entry). In fact, the greatest precipitation ever recorded in the US in one month happened here — 2,565mm in 1942 — as well as the biggest downpour over one year — 17,902mm in 1982.
Currently, Kukui on the island of Maui has an average annual rainfall of 9,293mm.
Mount Emei, China
Just making it into the top ten is Mount Emei, located in China’s Sichuan Province. With an average annual rainfall of 8,169mm, Mount Emei is a popular tourist attraction — despite its weather — and you can visit ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries around the area.
One of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains, Mount Emei experiences so much rain due to being partly enclosed in a broad, double blanket of clouds that collect here and cause frequent downpours.