Which Is Rainier?

Posted in Weather - Miscellaneous at 8:00 am by Rebekah

How do you judge whether one place is rainier than another? Is it by the average annual rainfall? The average annual number of days where rain is falling?

Let’s take a look at a few places in Washington, one of the wettest states in the country (data from the WRCC):

  • Forks (northwest Olympic Peninsula) – average precipitation days: 202 days; average precipitation: 121.73 inches
  • Seattle (eastern edge of the Puget Sound) – average precipitation days: 155 days; average precipitation: 37.07 inches
  • Vancouver (southwest Washington) – average precipitation days: 150 days; average precipitation: 41.92 inches

Based on these statistics, I think we’d have no trouble agreeing that Forks is rainier than both Seattle and Vancouver.

However, what about Seattle versus Vancouver? Vancouver receives more precipitation, but Seattle averages a few more rainy days per year.

One idea is that perhaps Seattle’s rains are of a lighter variety. Maybe Seattle gets more drizzle and Vancouver gets more moderate to heavy rains (hmm…maybe the type of rain could be another factor in deciding which of two places is rainier).

What do you think?

Follow Green Sky Chaser on Twitter and Facebook for weather, chasing, and blog updates.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter


  1. Robin said,

    January 5, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Well, objectively speaking, I would probably go with the area that gets the highest amount of rainfall is rainier. However, subjectively speaking, I would go with the highest amount of days my head gets wet. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And, if you live in a drier climate and long for the rain, then I would take either a cup full of rain or a wet head any day!

  2. roofrat said,

    January 5, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Having worked outdoors around the Seattle area for nearly twenty years as a roofer, I became very familiar with the Puget Sound rain. As a casual observer it sure seemed like it rained more at night than during the day, but I have no statistics to back up this theory. This was a delight after the previous four years of being soaked day after day in the Eugene, OR area. Could this be true, or am I all wet?

  3. Rebekah said,

    January 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Robin: good points. ๐Ÿ™‚ I, too, would go with the place that receives more total precipitation. There are some places where the differences in statistics are even greater, though…take Eugene, Oregon. Eugene averages 50.90 inches of precipitation on 140 days of precipitation per year. Compare that to Seattle’s stats of 37.07 inches and 155 days. Seattle’s rain is spread out more while Eugene’s is likely a heavier rain that comes on fewer days (and/or it just rains for longer periods of time in Eugene).

  4. Rebekah said,

    January 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    roofrat: That’s a very interesting observation! Unfortunately, I don’t know if rainy days vs. rainy nights statistics are readily available. Eugene averages 50.90 inches of precipitation on 140 days of the year, while Seattle has an average of 37.07 inches on 155 days. It is possible that when it starts to rain, it rains for a longer period of time in Eugene, while Seattle is more stop and go. Another possibility is that it may be a lighter rain in Seattle than in Eugene, on occasion.

    I don’t know why it would tend to rain more at night in Seattle than in Eugene, as the climate and topography of both cities is pretty similar (only thing I can think of is if the proximity of the ocean or sound has anything to do with a diurnal cycle), but it is certainly possible!

  5. Tweets that mention Green Sky Chaser ยป Which Is Rainier? -- Topsy.com said,

    January 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rebekah LaBar, Rebekah LaBar. Rebekah LaBar said: How do you decide which of 2 places is rainier? Total rain? Rainy days? See "Which Is Rainier?" on the blog: http://bit.ly/f3L2d7 #fb […]