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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Does Ireland get more rain than the USA? State-by-state analysis:

When you think of Saint Patrick's Day, you think of Ireland. When you think of Ireland, you think of rain. But who gets more rain? USA or Ireland?
Credit: KFSM

Ireland gets a lot of attention in March with Saint Patrick's Day. The country is has stunning shades of green over its landscape for the majority of the year. Steady rainfall usually keeps the island pretty green. But how does it's rainfall compare to rainfall in the United States?

Credit: KFSM
Fahan, Ireland

Rainfall ranges across Ireland from the west coast near Galway to the east coast in the capital city of Dublin. We'll be using capital cities to make contrasts simpler.

Credit: KFSM

IRELAND - Annual rainfall

Dublin:  30.2 inches

Credit: KFSM
States with more annual rainfall than Dublin, Ireland

UNITED STATES - States with MORE annual rainfall than Dublin, Ireland

Alabama (Montgomery):  53.1 inches

Alaska (Juneau):  62.3 inches

Arkansas (Little Rock):  49.6 inches

Connecticut (Hartford):  44.2 inches

Delaware (Dover):  46.1 inches

Florida (Tallahassee):  59.2 inches

Georgia (Atlanta):  47.1 inches

Illinois (Springfield):  37.4 inches

Indiana (Indianapolis):  42.2 inches

Iowa (Des Moines):  36 inches

Kansas (Topeka):  36.5 inches

Oklahoma (Oklahoma City):  36.5 inches

Kentucky (Frankfort):  43.6 inches

Maine (Augusta):  41.8 inches

Massachusetts (Boston):  43.6 inches

Louisiana (Baton Rouge):  60.7 inches

Maryland (Annapolis):  47.3 inches

Michigan (Lansing):  32.8 inches

Minnesota (Saint Paul):  32.0 inches

Mississippi (Jackson):  54.1 inches

Missouri (Jefferson City)  43.1 inches

New Hampshire (Concord):  40.6 inches

New Jersey (Trenton):  46.3 inches

New York (Albany):  39.4 inches

North Carolina (Raleigh):  46.6 inches

Ohio (Columbus):  56.1 inches

Oregon (Salem):  39.7 inches

Pennsylvania (Harrisburg):  41.5 inches

Rhode Island (Providence):  47.2 inches

South Carolina (Columbia):  46.3 inches

Texas (Austin):  34.2 inches

Vermont (Montpelier):  37.3 inches

Virginia (Richmond):  43.3 inches

Washington (Olympia):  50.0 inches

West Virginia (Charleston):  51 inches

Wisconsin (Madison):  34.5 inches

UNITED STATES - States with LESS annual rainfall than Dublin, Ireland

Arizona (Phoenix):  8.0 inches

California (Sacramento):  18.5 inches*

Colorado (Denver):  14.2 inches

New Mexico (Santa Fe):  14.2 inches

Hawaii (Honolulu):  17.1 inches*

Idaho (Boise):  11.7 inches

Montana (Helena):  11.2 inches

Nebraska (Lincoln):  29.0 inches

Nevada (Carson City):  9.7 inches

North Dakota (Bismarck):  17.9 inches

South Dakota (Pierre):  19.9 inches

Utah (Salt Lake City):  18.6 inches

Wyoming (Cheyenne):  15.9 inches

*other locations in the state get much more rainfall due to terrain influences and jet stream tendencies

Why is Ireland considered so rainy when most Americans get more rainfall on every year?

Answer:  Intensity of rainfall

In Ireland, the Gulf Stream provides plenty of moisture and rain showers towards the island. However, most showers range from misty to moderate. Even if it mists every single day, rainfall totals only gradually increase. In the USA, most of the eastern two-thirds of the nation gets more rainfall than Ireland but in shorter, more intense spurts. Often times rainfall totals get a big boost during downpours within thunderstorms especially during the warm season. Thunderstorms are much more likely in America rather than Ireland (too stable of an atmosphere influenced by maritime air). 

Ireland can sometimes be considered greener than many parts of the United States during parts of the year, even though the island is technically drier over the course of one year. Much of this is due to higher latitudes leading to a higher solar angle and rate of evaporation. Higher sun angles translate to more intense heating which leads to more water evaporating. In the USA, rain can be quickly evaporated during extended sunny, dry periods as the sun is high in the sky. Because Ireland is at a higher latitude, the sun doesn't get as high in the sky and thus doesn't heat and evaporate water as well, leaving more water for the landscape to use and stay green.

-Matt