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WeatherTalk: The world's driest place is in Antarctica

It has not rained in the "Dry Valleys" for at least two million years.

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The driest place on Earth is a location in Antarctica known as the “Dry Valleys.” It has not rained there for at least two million years. The Dry Valleys occasionally get extremely small amounts of snow, which is vaporized by the frequent katabatic winds of more than 100 mph that blow down from nearby mountains. The mountains are shaped in such a way so as to block glaciers from reaching the valleys, so the ground is mostly inorganic rocks and gravel.

No plants or animals live there naturally, although bacteria have been discovered living in rocks. With a temperature usually well below zero degrees, frequent hurricane-force wind, no snow or ice, extremely low humidity and either continuous light or continuous darkness much of the year, it is probably the most otherworldly place on Earth.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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