The wettest places on earth

Approximately 71% of our planet’s surface is covered by water, constantly subjected to the heat of the sun (at least during daytime). This results in a lot of water vapour, and as the old saying goes, what goes up must come down. Many variables affect this process including; geographical features, air pressure, temperature and wind speed, creating some truly extreme climates.

If everything lines up just right, or wrong, depending on your point of view, you can get rainy seasons that make the average monsoon look like drizzle. So, where exactly are the most rain-drenched locations on Earth?
Emei Shan, China
Average annual rainfall: 8,169mm
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Located in the Sichuan Province of China, Emei Shan is home to Mount Emei, the tallest of the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism. The lay of the land forces the clouds to form into two distinct layers as part of a local phenomenon known as the ‘Cloud Sea’, which generates a massive amount of rainfall.
Kukui, Hawaii (US)
Average annual rainfall: 9,293mm
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This incredible location on the island of Maui, Hawaii is now considered to be a nature reserve. Home to a volcanic peak which rises over 5700 feet above sea level, the fallout from the eruption of said volcano also created the breath-taking Lao Valley. The Maui Land and Pineapple Company, which monitors the preserve, typically only allow scientists to venture into the region.
Mt. Waialeale, Hawaii (US)
Average annual rainfall: 9,763mm
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With a name that literally translates to ‘overflowing water’, Mt. Waialeale fully deserves the number 8 spot on this list. The abundance of rainfall results in the slopes of the mountain maintaining an incredibly slick surface, poising both a challenge and a significant risk to hikers. The sheer volume of rain is believed to be due to the mountains conical shape and elevation.
Big Bog, Hawaii (US)
Average annual rainfall: 10,272mm
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Situated within the Haleakala National Park, reaching Big Bog requires a helicopter trip or a two-day hike, but Hawaii’s rainiest region is a popular tourist spot nonetheless. Thanks to its remote location, the lands in and around Big Bog are truly beautiful, protected as they are from many outside influences.
Debundscha, Cameroon
Average annual rainfall: 10,299mm
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A small coastal village sitting at the foot of Mount Cameroon, Debundscha’s weather patterns are in stark contrast to much of the nation and continent on the whole. Coastal winds bring with them a lot of moisture, which is trapped as heavy cloud by the looming mountain. The result? Vast amounts of rainfall on a regular basis.
San Antonio de Ureca, Equatorial Guinea
Average annual rainfall: 10,450mm
Img source: / Jose Cosme
Multiple ocean moisture patterns combine around this small village on the south coast of Bioko Island, generating a volume of rainfall that is wildly inconsistent with its position just above the equator. Bioko Island is in fact relatively close to the previous entry on this list, Debundscha, and the same coastal winds likely have an impact on both locations’ weather.
Cropp River, New Zealand
Average annual rainfall: 11,516mm
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At only nine kilometres long, Cropp River has a startling impact on the local weather. The region is the rainiest in all off Australasia and Oceania, with the mountainous terrain contributing to the build-up of precipitation. Although this list is ranked according to average rainfall, earning Cropp River the number 4 spot with a figure of 11,516mm, between October 1997 and October 1998 a staggering 18,413mm fell upon the region.
Tutunendo, Colombia
Average annual rainfall: 11,770mm
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This small village in North-Western Colombia has the misfortune of experiencing two rainy seasons per year; even its dry season tends to experience around twenty days of rain per month. With that in mind, it is understandable why every home in the area includes a waterproof lining to make conditions bearable. The nearby city of Quibdo has the distinction of being the wettest large city in the world.
Cherrapunji, India
Average annual rainfall: 11,777mm
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The residents of Cherrapunji have to cope with a truly bizarre and extreme climate. During the dry season, water shortages are common as no rain falls for months on end; during the rainy season, when the monsoons hit, it’s a very different story. Despite being ranked as the second wettest place on Earth, Cherrapunji holds the records for the most rainfall in both a single year (26,471mm) and a single month (9,300mm), earning both in 1861. The area is famous for its bridges weaved out of still living roots, which have carried people over steep valleys for hundreds of years.
Mawsynram, India
Average annual rainfall: 11,871mm
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Located only 10 miles from Cherrapunji, debate still rages between the two close neighbours over the title of the ‘world’s wettest location’, as the difference is only an average of 94mm. Like Cherrapunji, Mawsynram rarely sees a dry day during the monsoon season; local residents are even forced to line their roofs with grass to dampen the constant noise of rainfall. Researches attribute the excessive rainfall to the proximity of the Bay of Bengal.