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Weather Talk: What is the heaviest rain on Earth?

When a thunderstorm produces an inch of rain, it is often casually referred to as a heavy rain. But other than temporary street flooding, an inch of rain typically causes no problems in our area. Much heavier rains on the order of 5-10 inches have happened in the past with much costlier impacts.

The rainiest place in the United States is on the windward slope and at the summit of Hawaii's Mt. Waiʻaleʻale. Average annual rainfall is 452 inches. It rains on an average of 360 days a year, and daily rainfalls of 20-30 inches are common.

The wettest place on Earth is the village of Mawsynram in Meghalaya, India, which receives 467 inches of rain per year. In terms of a single storm, in 2014, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed a world record 48-hour rainfall of 98.15 inches on June 15-16, 1995, in Cherrapunji, India.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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