Although climatalogical data change year to year, on average, these are the ten driest cities in the US based on annual amount of precipitation. So if rainy days get you down or if you have that leaky sunroof you just don’t want to repair, hang up the umbrella, slather on some sunscreen and check out this list of America’s ten driest cities.
Top Ten Driest Cities in the US
10. Winnemucca, Nevada
City Average Annual Precipitation: 7.87 inches
Named for Northern Paiute Chief Winnemucca, this city of approximately 8,000 inhabitants is located in the northern part of Nevada about two and a half hours from Reno. With a city this dry it makes sense that Winnemucca is home to the largest potato dehydration plant in the world and the majority of the world’s supply of Pringles potato chips is made here.
9. El Paso, Texas
City Average Annual Precipitation: 7.82 inches
Home to over 800,000, El Paso, Texas is number eight on our list of driest American cities. Located in the westernmost tip of the state, El Paso is the only major city in Texas in the Mountain Time Zone. Surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert, most of the rainfall this area receives is during the late summer desert ‘monsoon’ season. Interestingly, El Paso is one of the few cities in the country that is located closer to the capitals of five other states, including Mexican states, than it is its own capital city of Austin.
8. Winslow, Arizona
City Average Annual Precipitation: 7.64 inches
If you’re standing on a corner in this city, chances are you won’t need an umbrella. Located on historic Route 66, Winslow, AZ has a population of approximately 10,000 and is home to one of the busiest railroad lines in the US with over a hundred trains passing through its borders on a daily basis.
7. Reno, Nevada
City Annual Average Precipitation: 7.49 inches
The Biggest Little City in the World, Reno is the birthplace of Harrah’s Entertainment. Reno is one of the few cities on the list not located in a purely arid climate, Reno owes its low rainfall amounts to its position behind the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, which blocks most of the rain.
6. Alamosa, Colorado
City Annual Average Precipitation: 7.13 inches
The only Colorado city to make the list, Alamosa is located high in San Luis Valley (don’t let the term valley fool you – average elevation is 7,500 feet). One of Alamosa’s main tourist attractions is, quite logically given its semi-arid climate, The Great Sand Dunes National Park.
5. Phoenix, Arizona
City Annual Average Precipitation: 7.11 inches
Boasting the hottest climate of any major city in the Unites States, with an average of over 100 days a year in which the temperature reaches over 100 degrees, the capital of Arizona is the fifth driest city on our list. Whoever coined the phrase ‘hot and dry’ probably had Phoenix in mind. If you think nights, may offer a relief from the heat, think again. Phoenix is home to one of the highest recorded low temperatures ever recorded (96 degrees in 2003).
4. Bakersfield, California
City Annual Average Precipitation: 5.72 inches
Unlike many of the cities on the list, Bakersfield’s wet season is during the winter with little to no rain falling at all during the late spring and fall.
3. Bishop, California
City Annual Average Precipitation: 5.61 inches
Known as ‘The Mule Capital of the World’, Bishop owes its arid climate to the rain shield of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
City Annual Average Precipitation: 4.19 inches
With 300 sunny days a year and less than 30 days with precipitation annually, Las Vegas doesn’t have a wet season like many of the cities in the top ten (if you can say any place that receives less than five inches of rain a year has a wet season), but typically the city receives most of its rain during its mild winters. However, rainfall is more spread throughout the year than most of the other cities on this list.
1. Yuma, Arizona
City Annual Average Precipitation: 2.64 inches
Voted by the Guinness Book of Records as the sunniest place on earth (on average the sun shines a whopping 93% of the time), it makes sense that Yuma, Arizona would be the driest city in the United States. Summers are hot, with temperatures between June and September averaging over 100 degrees. The city’s wettest month, August is the only month during the year that Yuma averages more than half an inch of rain.
Please note: climatic figures change as new data are recorded, so the ten driest cities in the US based on average rainfall amounts may fluctuate from year to year.