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Rain, Rain and More Rain: Life in Ketchikan, Alaska

Rain lovers should take a plane to Ketchikan International Airport or a ferry ride from Bellingham, Wash., to Alaska’s southernmost and fifth-largest city. That’s because it impressively averages more than 150 inches of precipitation a year.

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Seattle is a city that is famous for rain, but it only receives 37 inches of precipitation on an annual basis, a quarter of Ketchikan’s total. Additionally, the Alaskan city’s driest month of June (7.4 inches) is wetter than Seattle’s wettest, which is November (6.6 inches). Meanwhile, Ketchikan’s wettest month of October (22 inches) is more than half of Seattle’s annual total.

The reason why it is so wet here is thanks to Ketchikan’s location by the Pacific Ocean and in the Tongass National Forest, the world’s largest temperate rainforest. Interestingly, other parts of this rainforest are even wetter than Ketchikan. For example, Port Walter, which is situated about 140 miles northwest of Ketchikan, receives 226 inches of precipitation a year, including an average of 33 inches every October.

Those who are not fans of liquid sunshine can take heart in the fact it does not get that cold here. In fact, Tallahassee, Fla., has reached a low temperature (-2 on Feb. 13, 1899) that Ketchikan has never attained as the record-low temperature in this rainy city is -1 (Dec. 15, 1964, and Jan. 5, 1965). The moderate climate in this community also ensures that its record high is not too extreme; it’s 89 (June 20, 1858, and Aug. 14, 1977). In comparison, Tallahassee’s average summertime highs are in the 90s.

Meanwhile, precipitation enthusiasts who want warmer temperatures with their rain should head to Hilo, Hawaii, instead. In the island of Hawaii’s largest city, 127 inches of rain falls on an annual basis while average highs throughout the year are around 80 and average lows are in the 60s.

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