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The Driest Cities In The United States

The Driest Cities In The United States
List of The Driest Cities In The United States

Rain is a characteristic loved by many and linked to intense emotions. If you’ve seen Hollywood romcoms, you would definitely be aware of the part rain plays in symbolizing love and romance.

We all know the United States is known for couples that make rain a symbol of their everlasting love and memories. 

Unfortunately, the sad truth of some states in the US is that they fail to enjoy the wonders of rainfall just because nature chose the climate differently for them. Some of the driest states in the US experience long periods of high temperatures and little to no rainfall.

One of the most well know desert cities in the US is Las Vegas, the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert
One of the most well know desert cities in the US is Las Vegas, the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert

So, if you’re looking forward to a vacation to the driest cities in the United States, we suggest you perform thorough research before making a decision!

If you are fond of living in dry climates with low rainfall barriers, the southwestern area of the United States would serve you best due to the highly arid climatic conditions of the cities in that part of the state.

If dry and hot, sunny days are more your vibe, keep reading and you’ll find a list of places you will love. But first, let’s buckle up to learn some exciting facts about dry climatic conditions and increase your knowledge!


Distinguishing Features Of Dry Climatic Regions

If you hate the moisture-filled, sticky ambiance of the air during the rainy season, you will love to know that a dry region is entirely free of humidity and moisture. If you’re keen to know the distinctive attributes of a dry climatic region that make it stand out, stick right here with us!

Less Annual Rainfall

Rainfall is what makes a place feel lively and gloomy at the same time. It is an attribute unknown to dry climatic regions where the only known environmental factors are the scorching heat and low levels of humidity.

In fact, in some areas, rainfall is scarce to such an extent that not even a single droplet of rain falls in years! The lowest amount of rainfall experienced by the driest and semi-arid climatic regions in the United States is less than 3 inches per year.

High Rate Of Evaporation

The long spells of dryness in a region are a result of high evaporation rates that contribute to dry climatic areas having very low annual rainfall. The dry climatic regions include deserts and drought-struck areas with little to no moisture in the ground since the heating effect of the sun greatly amplifies the rate of evaporation from the soil. 

Therefore, heavy vegetation such as trees is rarely present in such heat-struck regions. There is little vegetation, with the rare exception of tiny shrubs and grasses that tend to survive in drier areas.

Extreme Temperatures

Grand Canyon, Arizona, US
The Grand Canyon in Arizona is close by to many cities that share the same climate

Extreme temperature doesn’t just refer to high temperatures if that’s what you were thinking.

In dry climatic regions, both the summers and winters show extreme variation in day-to-day temperatures, with summers being too hot and winters being too cold. In fact, the fluctuation in temperature over the course of day and night is noteworthy as well. Even if the temperature is very high during the day, the night can be very bone-chilling regardless of the daytime! 

What Are Some Of The Driest Cities In The United States?

The United States is home to many big cities with arid climates. 

The western part of the US mainly comprises areas with arid climates predominantly influenced by the geographical attributes of the area. This implies that the amount of sunlight reaching these areas is significantly high.

In addition, the driest cities in the United States are mainly situated on the foothills of the rocky mountainous regions ranging from the north to the south of the western coast of the US.

If you’re not clear on the reason why mountainous regions are the dry ones, we have the answer for you:

The mountains, acting as barriers, obstruct the humid sea breezes that contribute to moisture in the environment. 

So, now you understand what makes a city regarded as dry and the reason behind this phenomenon! Keep reading with us to learn about the driest cities in the United States. 

#1 Yuma – Arizona

The wall with the Lizard Tail, Yuma, Arizona
The wall with the Lizard Tail, Yuma, Arizona

Being regarded as “The Sunniest City on Earth” by Guinness World Records, Yuma is named the driest city in the US due to its long spells of warmth and constant sunshine all around the year. 

The city is situated in the southwestern part of Arizona near the Gila and Colorado rivers and is well known for its extremely dry climatic conditions. As a matter of fact, the winters at Yuma are relatively warm compared to the cold spells in other regions of the US. 

In addition, the city has to bear with long hours of sunlight for almost 90% of the day. Moreover, the measure of annual rainfall in the area is approximately 3 inches, almost equal to the quantity of rain in a desert or drought-stricken region. 

#2 Imperial – California

Imperial Beach, California, United States
Imperial Beach, California, United States

This city, belonging to Imperial County in California, is said to be the driest one in the US, and it is right next to the Sonoran Desert.

It has long summers of scorching heat and scanty water reserves due to a considerably low measure of annual rainfall, approximately equal to 3 inches or less. 

The climate of Imperial is rather strange since it sometimes resembles that of the tropical areas of the Caribbean. This is why the city may experience heavy lightning and dust storms coupled with light rain or hail. 

Besides, the low rainfall means the city suffers quite a lot in terms of farming and agriculture. The only available reserves are the small canals leading directly from the Colorado River.

The mild winter climate means that there isn’t much snowfall in this area.

#3 Las Vegas – Nevada

Vegas, Nevada
Vegas, Nevada

Commonly known as Vegas, the city is one of the most populated ones in the US, with exceptionally amazing nightlife, dining, and shopping areas giving life to the town. Of all the driest cities in the United States, this one is the most well-known.

The top-tier mansions, hotels, casinos, and restaurants attract people from around the world to experience their moments of joy in this lively and cheerful part of the US. 

Besides, when talking about the topography, Vegas has rugged terrain surrounded by hills that contribute to the dry climate of the area.

The extreme heat of the summers can lead to Vegas quickly crossing high temperatures of 45 ° C. The only good point is the relatively cooler nights. In the winter there is some rainfall, ranging up to 4 inches annually. The mountains surrounding the Las Vegas valley experience heavy snowfall at the start of winter, with a few traces witnessed in the central city. 

#4 Bakersfield – California

Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield is ranked as the ninth most populated city in California and is situated in Kern county near the San Joaquin Valley. 

The city is popular for its hot desert climate due to the long spells of dry and sweltering summers and mild to cold winters. As extreme as it sounds, the highest temperature reached in this area is 43 °C, which can exceed even more over the years. 

Rainfall is a relatively uncommon sight at Bakersfield, with an average annual rainfall of only 6 inches which falls mainly during the winters. 

In addition, winters at Bakersfield are rather chilly and may induce a dense layer of fog in some areas. Moreover, similar to rainfall, snow is a rare sight in this city. However, occasional frost may occur from time to time. 

#5 Phoenix – Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona

Being the capital of the state of Arizona, Phoenix is the fifth most populated city in the US, surrounded by shallow rocky mountains scattered everywhere. 

The city is the most sun-exposed region in the United States, accounting for its close resemblance to the hot desert climate.

The long-lasting summers of scorching heat, coupled with the 300 days of constant sunshine and short, mild winters, make it one of the hottest cities in the US.

The only amount of rainfall the state ever receives is between July and September, with an average annual rainfall measure of around 7 inches. 

Dust storms giving rise to haboobs (extremely violent winds and clouds of dust) and wildfires are the common environmental hazards in the area due to its extremely dry climate. 

#6 Reno – Nevada

Original Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada
Original Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada

Reno, also termed “The Biggest Little City In The World,” sits on the Nevada-California border and is the largest city in Washoe County. 

The city is second to Las Vegas in terms of its population, and the upcoming technological developments are leading to a further rise in its populace.

Compared to the climate of the aforementioned US states, Reno has a relatively better ambiance, with hot summers and mild to cold winters. It falls under the category of cold semi-arid climate as a result of its low evaporation rate and less exposure to the sun. 

The 300 sunshine days are accompanied by short rain spells, with a slight possibility of thunderstorms between May and October. The average annual rainfall measure is a mere 7 inches, if you needed proof of the dry climate of the city. 

Quite surprisingly, there is a considerably higher amount of snowfall at Reno compared to the cities mentioned above. The surrounding Virginia mountain range receives twice as much snow as the city does alone. 

#7 Winslow – Arizona

Cathedral Rock, Arizona, US
Cathedral Rock, Arizona, US

The city, belonging to Navajo County of Arizona, is named after the former president of the Frisco Railways, Edward Francis Winslow, who was an officer during the American Civil War. 

The city is in the valley of the Little Colorado River, and its economy depends largely upon travel and tourism. 

The arid climate of Winslow implies that the city experiences long spells of dryness throughout the year, with the only scanty rainfall of an average annual count of 7 inches occurring during the summers between July and September. 

In addition, the winters at Winslow are short and extremely cold, while the summers are hot and dry, with July being the hottest and December being the coldest month.

Moreover, the amount of humidity in the air almost equals zero since the city is clear nearly every day, throughout the year.

#8 Alamosa – Colorado

Alamosa, Colorado, US
Alamosa, Colorado, US

The home rule municipality of Alamosa belongs to the Alamosa County of Colorado, found near the San Luis Valley.

The city is a mountainous region in terms of its topography, with its dry climate resembling that of the cold deserts. The town has an opposite climatic phenomenon compared to the ones mentioned above since it has longer spells of bone-chilling winters with short and mild summers. 

Overall, the climatic aura of the region is dry due to its deficient annual rainfall of approximately 7.3 inches. Moreover, the elevated geography and dry climatic conditions lead to extreme temperature variations between the day and night time.

Quite astonishingly, the city has experienced extremely low-temperature spells of approximately -18 °C for 46 nights between 1980-2010. 

#9 Winnemucca – Nevada

The steppe climate of Nevada
The steppe climate of Nevada

Winnemucca, the only city belonging to the Humboldt County of Nevada, is named after the family of Chief Winnemucca of the 19th century, who belonged to the northern Paiute people native to this area.

The city covers relatively fewer square meters of land with a considerably low population amounting to approximately 8000 residents. 

Besides, the steppe climate (semi-arid climate) of the city makes it a somewhat bearable place to live in. At least chilly nights balance out the days and provide relief to the locals from the scorching heat of the day.

Moreover, the rainfall period is short, with the average annual record amounting to 8 inches. The colder periods at Winnemucca are accompanied by a thin layer of snowfall, increasing the amount of chill throughout the year. 

Are you keen to learn more about the climate of Winnemucca? Click here to resolve all your queries!

#10 El Paso – Texas

El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas

El Paso, the 23rd largest city in the United States, is known for its lively and cheerful surroundings and has been ranked as one of the safest cities currently in the US. 

In addition, its close proximity to the capital cities, Phoenix and Santa Fe of Arizona and New Mexico, increase its popularity worldwide. 

The city lies at an elevation of several thousand meters above sea level, with the highest peak being the North Franklin Mountain, famous for its natural red clay formation, the Thunderbird. 

The hot summers with constant sunshine for 302 days in the city are accompanied by little spells of humidity, while the winters are mostly cool and dry. Infrequent rain showers occur between June and September, with the average annual rainfall amounting to 8.8 inches. 

There are also frequent thunder and dust storms across the country. On top of that, heavy snow storms occur here during December and January, with the lowest recorded temperature at -22 °C.

#11 Tucson – Arizona

Gates Pass, Tucson, United States
Gates Pass, Tucson, United States

Tucson, the 2nd largest city in Arizona, belongs to Pima County and is home to the world’s most famous institute, the University of Arizona. 

The hot desert climate at Tucson gives room to high-tempered summers, and mild winters with low levels of humidity and slight rain showers, with the highest temperature ever recorded being 47 °C. 

The amount of heat generated in the land is so high that the natives are always at a risk of sunburn and heat strokes. 

Besides, the average annual rainfall experienced by the city is approximately 10 inches, with rainy showers starting from June to September. 

Moreover, the mild winters and thin snowfall layers contribute to the dry climatic conditions of Tucson, with the lowest temperature ever recorded being -14 °C.

The Final Word

The climatic variations throughout the world are a result of the excellent balance of nature in the ecosystem. 

YouTube video

While there may be areas experiencing severe cold throughout the year, the dry climate takes over more than half of the land on earth, making it the largest known climate at present. Sounds fascinating, right? 

So, now that you know everything about the climatic conditions of the driest cities in the United States, pack your stuff accordingly and enjoy your vacations with your loved ones!

Looking for more adventures in the US? Have a look at our list of the Prettiest State Parks in the US here.

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