Ketchikan maintains reputation for rain

Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2002

If you think it rained a lot in Juneau last year, consider Ketchikan.

The southern Southeast Alaska city reported 183.95 inches - more than 15 feet - of precipitation in 2001. The total is almost 4 feet above the community's average of 137.4 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The city had only 96 days in 2001 when it was not raining, snowing, sleeting, sprinkling or hailing.

The total continues a recent trend. It was the third year in a row in which precipitation was at least 30 inches more than the average annual rainfall in Ketchikan.

However, the total last year was not close to the record rainfall for the city. In 1949 the community was moistened with 202.19 inches of rain or snow. In contrast, the driest year on record is 1982, when 87.49 inches fell.

Ketchikan is not the wettest populated spot in the state.

Based on a 30-year history from 1961 to 1991, the National Climatic Data Center reported Little Port Walter on Baranof Island is the wettest populated spot in Alaska, averaging 225.9 inches of rain a year during that period.

Next in line was Port Alexander, also on Baranof Island, with 165.4 inches, followed by Yakutat in northern Southeast Alaska with 151.25 inches.

The Alaska record for the most rain in one year is 332.29 inches in 1976 on Montague Island's MacLeod Harbor, about 70 miles east of Seward.

Hawaii takes the prize for the wettest place in the United States with an average annual rainfall of 460 inches on Mount Waialeale, on the island of Kauai. In 1982, a record 704.83 inches fell on Kukui on the island of Maui. That's more than 58 feet, or nearly 2 inches of rain every day of the year.

Juneau was a little wetter than usual in 2001, with rainfall 5 inches above normal. Some 256 days showed measurable rainfall for a Juneau Airport total of 59.43 inches.

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