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Anyone know how to get "average hours of rain each day" for western US cities?

rainfall statistics hours of rain rain shadow
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#1
patbarb

Posted 18 April 2018 - 10:59 AM

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I realize that there are "average number of hours of sunlight" statistics available, but that's not quite what I'm looking for. I'll be looking at places in the western US to live and I've come to realize that the above measure in the title is the most important for me. My perfect climate would be one hour of rain per day, every day of the year. Gray skies and storms are perfectly fine, since that means cool temps and a green landscape. I don't like dry and sunny every day - and especially don't like the desert. Seattle has a perfect amount of rain, 37"/yr, but is not quite right since it has too many hours of rain each day. The town of Sequim, near Seattle and in the rain shadow of the Olympics, is somewhat interesting to me since it only gets 1/2 the rain of Seattle. At any rate, would sure appreciate it if someone could point me to some resources. Thanks!



#2
Front Ranger

Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:28 AM

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North Bend, WA has more hours of rain than any other location on Earth.

Of course, with anywhere in the PNW, there is a distinct wet/dry season. But for the overall average you're shooting for, somewhere in southern OR or maybe the western Columbia River gorge would work.
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Cool anomalies soothe the soul.


#3
patbarb

Posted 18 April 2018 - 01:26 PM

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I'm definitely wondering more and more about rain shadow areas, and I think you have a point about S. Oregon, 'Front Ranger'. Ashland, looks interesting, although a bit colder than I like in winter



#4
TT-SEA

Posted 18 April 2018 - 05:43 PM

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Nowhere in the PNW has an hour of rain every day all year.  Not even close.

 

Even in the winter here in the foothills about 35% of the days are totally dry on average     And its much higher from late April - early October.   I would guess that 70-80% of the days are normally totally dry in July and August.   Last year it was almost 100% of the days in those months.  

 

The other problem is that many of the rainy days are not just wet for an hour but for much of the day.

 

What you are describing is much more common in Hawaii.   



#5
patbarb

Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:11 PM

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So, no one knows of any "hours of rain per day" data?



#6
Scott

Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:13 PM

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North Bend, WA has more hours of rain than any other location on Earth.

 

 

Probably not.   It may be the weather station with more hours of rain, but there are definitely places that rain for more hours.

I am mentioning this not to debate, but because I think you or others might be interested.

Parts of the Guiana Highlands apparently never stop raining, or at least only stop to a mist or drizzle.  It rains on the northeast side of some of the Tepuis 24/7 365 days a year (or so it is claimed; no one lives there and there is no weather station).   The area is known as the Desierto de Lluvia or "rain desert".    We went there in February 1996 (February is the driest month).    Few people ever go there and you won't find much online.   The reason that it is known as the rain desert is because it rains so much that there is almost no soil (it gets washed away) and thus very little vegetation.   There are still plants, but some of them have no roots.   Instead of getting nutrients from the soil, they are carnivorous!  There is some soil in the marshy areas among the rocks.   It's also hard to pitch a tent because there are only wet rocks or marshes.    The only place we could find for our tent was on an area of rocks with a (permanent) faucet sized waterfall coming down off the rocks onto the tent.   Since it never stops raining, you can forget about ever trying to dry your clothes or sleeping bag.  They will be permanently wet (the humidity is always 100% as well).  It's a really strange place.    Unfortunately, it's hard to get to now because of the turmoil in Venezuela and because it's a border region.  Even without turmoil, it is a hard place to get to, with several days of difficult walking.  You won't find these places in the weather almanacs, but they do exist.

Also, interesting is that topographic maps of the area are blanked out with "Nubes" (clouds) since topographic maps in remote regions usually rely on aerial photographs.  Even Google Earth just shows clouds.  Since it's always raining, the region still isn't mapped in detail, nor are there any satellite or aerial photos available.  


  • ShawniganLake and patbarb like this

At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   11.01 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   38.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   10/6


#7
Scott

Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:14 PM

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So, no one knows of any "hours of rain per day" data?

 

 

Not that I know of.


At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   11.01 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   38.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   10/6


#8
TT-SEA

Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:19 PM

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So, no one knows of any "hours of rain per day" data?

 

Even if you got that information, it might not really be meaningful.

 

For example... if 20% of the days have rain for an average of 8 hours and 80% of the days have no rain at all then it might end up averaging an hour per day but that rarely actually happens.



#9
Phil

Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:20 PM

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Probably not. It may be the weather station with more hours of rain, but there are definitely places that rain for more hours.

I am mentioning this not to debate, but because I think you or others might be interested.

Parts of the Guiana Highlands apparently never stop raining, or at least only stop to a mist or drizzle. It rains on the northeast side of some of the Tepuis 24/7 365 days a year (or so it is claimed; no one lives there and there is no weather station). The area is known as the Desierto de Lluvia or "rain desert". We went there in February 1996 (February is the driest month). Few people ever go there and you won't find much online. The reason that it is known as the rain desert is because it rains so much that there is almost no soil (it gets washed away) and thus very little vegetation. There are still plants, but some of them have no roots. Instead of getting nutrients from the soil, they are carnivorous! There is some soil in the marshy areas among the rocks. It's also hard to pitch a tent because there are only wet rocks or marshes. The only place we could find for our tent was on an area of rocks with a (permanent) faucet sized waterfall coming down off the rocks onto the tent. Since it never stops raining, you can forget about ever trying to dry your clothes or sleeping bag. It's a really strange place. Unfortunately, it's hard to get to now because of the turmoil in Venezuela and because it's a border region. Even without turmoil, it is a hard place to get to, with several days of difficult walking.


I think he was being sarcastic about that. Based on Tim’s commentary, one would think North Bend was the wettest place on Earth, though. :)
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#10
Phil

Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:25 PM

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So, no one knows of any "hours of rain per day" data?


I can’t think of anywhere in the US (minus Hawaii) that experiences brief rainfalls every day, with sunshine in between. The SE US coastal areas during the summer might be the closest thing, with the afternoon sea breeze thunderstorms, but west of the Plains/Rockies it really doesn’t happen like that. There’s just not enough moisture present.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#11
patbarb

Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:36 PM

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Well, that's sad. I was actually imagining that at the more sophisticated weather stations they are recording when it is raining and when it is not and so can give the specific number of minutes it's raining each day at that location. And, I didn't want a monthly or weekly average, but an average for each day of the year at that location. Guess that just ain't gonna happen, huh? ;)



#12
Scott

Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:40 PM

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I think he was being sarcastic about that.

 

 

Oops, I missed the joke.   Hopefully at least someone will enjoy my post about the rain desert though.  ;) 

 

I can’t think of anywhere in the US (minus Hawaii) that experiences brief rainfalls every day, with sunshine in between. 

 


Possibly the parts of the mountains in the Alaskan Panhandle, but minus much of the sunshine in between.  I don't know how brief the rainfalls are either.

Little Port Walter has an average of 236 days of measurable rain a year, but the mountains in the Panhandle area get more.    Parts of the Fairweather and Coast Ranges in the Panhandle are estimated to have 400-500 inches of precipitation a year (Little Port Walter gets an average of 226.45 inches of rain per year, and the mountains are estimated to get double that).   Of course the 400-500 inches of precipitation is based on estimates rather than weather stations, but they do seem plausible given the region.  


  • Phil likes this

At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   11.01 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   38.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   10/6


#13
Phil

Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:04 PM

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Well, that's sad. I was actually imagining that at the more sophisticated weather stations they are recording when it is raining and when it is not and so can give the specific number of minutes it's raining each day at that location. And, I didn't want a monthly or weekly average, but an average for each day of the year at that location. Guess that just ain't gonna happen, huh? ;)


Well, I guess you could do the calculations yourself if you can find a wunderground station with a long enough period of record. For most wunderground stations, the data is archived either by the hour or by the minute. And all graphs are interactive, so you can check any particular day.

Here’s mine, for instance. I installed it in Dec 2016 and have maintained a continuous period of record since that time (very short time, haha). The wind speed data is biased artificially low thanks to large trees, by ~ 20% during winter and ~ 40% during summer, but otherwise it’s fairly representative of reality. It was also a very dry year, so the recent rainfall (2.55”/2hrs) was the largest I’ve observed since I installed this station. At some point the heavy rains will return, I assume.

So, it's pretty much an example of a typical station on wunderground..most have short periods of record, but a few have existed for longer periods of time and are quite useful.

https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

High/Low Temperature and 24hr average Dewpoint:

7P4bWMm.jpg

Wind Speed/Gust:

RGshZB9.jpg

Rainfall:

VjKMVVN.jpg
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#14
Phil

Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:16 PM

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FWIW, the recent increase in the observed wind gusts is a result of a nearby large tree beginning to lean/fall over, exposing the station to more gusts. I haven’t had time to remove it yet but will try to handle it within the next few weeks.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#15
patbarb

Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:32 AM

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OK, interesting to know about Wunderground @Phil. Doesn't NOAA open up all their data to the general public, such that I could look at the raw data myself?



#16
Scott

Posted 19 April 2018 - 03:35 PM

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Doesn't NOAA open up all their data to the general public,

 

 

As far as I know, all NOAA data is public, but finding it all is not exactly easy, and neither is trying to organize it.

They do have precipitation data archived, including for each hour, and even in five minute increments for a lot of digital stations, but I don't think they have it broken down into averages of how many hours a day it is raining.   As far as I know they only break it down into days of measurable precipitation, rather than the amount of time in a day that it rains.  Conceivably you could do this yourself using the raw data, but it would be time consuming.   I actually have done things like that to gather temperature and precipitation averages at stations like SNOTELs, which have all the data available online, but not in averaged form.   I am talking one weather station at a time though.   Even that is time consuming.   I couldn't imagine trying to do it for the country or even an entire state (unless it's a really tiny one).


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At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   11.01 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   38.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   10/6






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