Driest Cities in the United States
Least Amount of Rain
Many major cities in the western United States have dry climates. Las Vegas and Phoenix, get so little rain or snow, less than 10 inches (250 millimetres) a year on average, that they're considered deserts. Riverside and San Diego also cross under the desert threshold with averages of just over nine inches of annual rainfall.
Las Vegas and Phoenix normally have less than an inch (25 mm) of rain in every month. For many of the driest cities, usually no rain lands during two or three months of the year. At cities in central and southern California, the little rain they do get lands mainly during spring, fall and winter. They typically receive at most one-tenth of an inch of rainfall throughout July and August.
|Las Vegas, Nevada||4.2||106|
|San Diego, California||9.8||249|
|San Jose, California||13.5||342|
|Los Angeles, California||14.3||362|
|Salt Lake City, Utah||15.5||394|
These precipitation totals are averages based on weather data collected from 1991 to 2020 for the US National Centers for Environmental Information. You can also view precipitation information for all the major cities.
The major cities included in the weather rankings represent the 56 metropolitan areas in the United States with the biggest populations, all those with over one million people in 2020, according to the US Census Bureau. A complete list of America's 56 largest urban centers is available here.
Many smaller cities also have exceptionally dry weather. Yuma, Arizona with only 3.3 inches (84 mm) of rain a year, ranks among the driest places to live in the USA. Other mid-sized cities averaging less than ten inches of precipitation a year include Reno Nevada, St George Utah, El Paso Texas, Albuquerque New Mexico, and Yakima Washington.
Most Dry Days
In America's driest cities, at least 8 out of 10 days have at most a light shower, if any, precipitation. Nine large cities have over 300 dry days a year. Las Vegas, the least rainy of all, usually never sees more than four damp days a month.
|City||Dry Days a Year|
|Las Vegas, Nevada||339|
|Los Angeles, California||331|
|San Diego, California||325|
|San Jose, California||306|
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Climate Normals.