From Hurricane Dorian in 2019 to Hurricane Isaias in 2020, North Carolina picks up a considerable amount of rain. Then there’s the normal rainfall throughout the year. We’ve ranked the rainiest cities and towns.
We look specifically at average annual rainfall followed by the top rainfall events over the past year. We’ll also touch on what you can do to protect your home from heavy rain damage.
Rainiest Cities and Towns in North Carolina: Average Annual Rainfall
We’ve sifted through the rainfall information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in North Carolina for the highest average annual rainfall. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 6,000 or more.
Rainiest Cities and Towns in North Carolina: Heavy Rain Events
Average annual measures give you an idea of where you can expect rainfall every year. We’ve also reviewed NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information’s Storm Events Database. We set the range for Nov. 1, 2019, to Nov. 30, 2020, reviewing the heavy rain events recorded during those 396 days.
Here are the top 20 ranked by rainfall amount. Amounts shown are typically those registered over a 24-hour period with a few cases of storm totals. We’ve left out cities that registered several times on the list, showing only their highest total.
|1||Four Oaks, Johnston County, Sept. 1, 2020||11.4|
|2||Monks Crossroads, Sampson County, June 19, 2020||10.9|
|3||Ridgeway, Warren County, Aug.31, 2020||7.8|
|4||Ahoskie Airport, Hertford County, Nov. 11, 2020||7.6|
|5||Aho, Watauga County, April 12, 2020||7.5|
|6||Rockyhock, Chowan County, Nov. 11, 20220||7.0|
|7||Windsor, Bertie County, Nov. 11, 2020||7.0|
|8||Point Harbor, Currituck County, Nov. 11, 2020||6.8|
|9||Henrico, Northampton County, Sept. 17, 2020||6.6|
|10||Rutherwood, Watauga County, April 12, 2020||6.4|
|11||South Mills, Camden County, Nov. 11, 2020||6.4|
|12||Gap Creek, Ashe County, April 12, 2020||6.0|
|13||Raleigh, Wake County, Sept. 1, 2020||5.9|
|14||Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County, Aug. 15, 2020||5.8|
|15||Methodist College, Cumberland County, Sept. 1, 2020||5.5|
|16||Centerville, Franklin County, June 17, 2020||5.4|
|17||Batchelor Crossroads, Nash County, June 17, 2020||5.3|
|18||Danbury, Stokes County, Feb. 6, 2020||5.2|
|19||Moyock, Currituck County, Aug. 6, 2020||5.2|
|20||Clayton, Johnston County, Sept. 1, 2020||5.2|
There are a few cities that deserve a special mention:
- Nettle Knob on Aug. 7, 2020, with 4.5 inches of rain in two hours.
- Yadkinville on Aug. 5, 2020, with 4.1 inches of rain in two to three hours.
- Copeland on Aug. 5, 2020, with 2.1 inches in 45 minutes.
Many of these heavy rainfall records were driven by Hurricane Isaias in August 2020.
Rain in Our Hometowns
We’ve gone a bit deeper into the numbers for the locations in North Carolina where we have offices.
The average annual rainfall in Raleigh is 46.2 inches. Note that it ranked 13th on the heavy rain events list with 5.9 inches on Sept. 1, 2020. Winston-Salem’s average annual rainfall is 44.5 inches
How to Protect Your Home from Rain
The lists above show that North Carolina gets plenty of rain on average as well as during heavy rainfall and storms. That makes it important to make sure your home is protected.
Here are our recommendations.
- Install and maintain gutters and downspouts. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are sized adequately to carry the water that collects and runs off your roof. Also, be sure to clear obstructions and repair any damage. See our article Calculating the Importance of Gutters and Drainage for more information.
- Install downspout extensions. Extensions serve to route water well away from your home’s foundation. You don’t want water collecting around the walls of your basement or crawl space.
- Practice proper landscaping. It’s necessary to grade the soil around your foundation so that water flows away from the foundation. As a result, when water runs off the roof into gutters and downspouts, it will continue its journey away from your basement or crawl space.
- Consider the clay bowl effect. The big reason to move water away from the foundation is the different drainage factors around the foundation. This happens during excavation for the basement or crawl space. The backfill soil is much looser than the undisturbed soil. This essentially forms a bowl that collects water and moves it toward the foundation.
- Waterproof your basement or crawl space. Fix any basement or crawl space cracks as well as any openings for pipes and drain lines. Install a drainage system and sump pump to collect and remove leaks before they become flooding problems.
Rainwater can find its way into your basement or crawl space, whether it’s a gentle rain or one of the torrential rainfalls we’ve listed above.
We recommend that you consult the professionals at Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free inspection and repair estimate to identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need attention in preparation for heavy rains.
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