Top 20 Rainiest Cities and Towns in Tennessee

There are quite a few rivers and streams in Tennessee. Ever wonder where all that water comes from? To start answering that question, here’s our ranking of the rainiest cities and towns.

In this article, we’ll look specifically at average annual rainfall followed by the top rainfall events over the past five years. We’ll also touch on what you can do to protect your home from rain damage.

Rainiest Cities and Towns in Tennessee: Average Annual Rainfall

We’ve sifted through the rainfall information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in Tennessee for the highest average annual rainfall. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 6,000 or more.

 

City/Town Inches
1 Dunn Creek   61.4
2 Lawrenceburg 60.5
3 Mayland – Pleasant Hill  59.9
4 Tullahoma 59.9
5 Manchester 59.4
6 Savannah 58.6
7 Athens 58.3
8 Lynchburg 58.3
9 Dayton 58.1
10 Upper Big Bigby  58.0
11 Lantana 57.8
12 Cookeville 57.6
13 Crossville 57.5
14 Shelbyville 57.2
15 South Cannon 57.1
16 Calhoun – Riceville 57.0
17 Lower Rutherford Creek 56.8
18 Spring Hill 56.7
19 Sale Creek 56.7
20 Unionville 56.6

Rainiest Cities and Towns in Tennessee: Heavy Rain Events

That’s average annual rainfall. It gives you an idea of where you can expect a fair amount of rainfall every year. We’ve also reviewed NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information’s Storm Events Database. In the range of Nov. 30, 2015, to Nov. 30, 2020, they identified 32 locations affected by heavy rain events.

Here are the top 20 ranked by rainfall amount. All amounts shown are those registered over a 24-hour period. We’ve left out cities that registered several times on the list, showing only their highest total.

 

City/Town and Date Inches
Mallorys, Williamson County, Sept. 13, 2020 8.3
2 Hohenwald, Lewis County, July 28, 2017 8.1
3 Dunn, Lawrence County, July 28, 2017 6.8
4 Germantown, Shelby County, June 7, 2019 6.7
5 Bumpus Mills, Stewart County, July 6, 2016 6.7
6 Richland, Davidson County, Feb. 6, 2019 6.6
7 Williams, Macon County, June 4, 2017 6.6
8 Springfield Airport, Robertson County, July 6, 2016 6.4
9 Gordonsburg, Lewis County, July 28, 2017 .4
10 Compton, Rutherford County, Nov. 7, 2017 6.4
11 Rockbridge, Sumner County, May 11, 2016 6.2
12 Oak Hill, Davidson County, Feb. 6, 2019 6.2
13 Kingston Springs, Cheatham County, Feb. 6, 2019 6.2
14 Tennessee Ridge, Houston County, July 27, 2016 6.1
15 Statesville, Wilson County, Nov. 7, 2017 6.1
16 Watkins, Dekalb County, May 18, 2017 6.1
17 Forest Home, Williamson County, Nov. 7, 2017 5.5
18 Greenlawn, Wilson County, Feb. 6, 2019 5.3
19 Fort Campbell, Montgomery County, July 6, 2016 5.3
20 Moccasin, Wayne County, July 28, 2017 5.1

 

There are also a few cities that warrant special mention:

  • Ocana on April 23, 2018, with 1.6 inches of rain in 25 minutes.
  • Cookeville on July 16, 2016, with three inches of rain in one hour.
  • Clarksville on July 7, 2016, with 4.7 inches of rain in 4.5 hours.

Trying not to put a complete damper on the party, we’ll also point out that the Sept. 2, 2017, storm in Robertson County saw 10 inches of rain over 72 hours. At that point, it was probably too late to start building the ark.

Rain in Our Hometowns

We’ve looked closer into the locations in Tennessee where we have offices.

Nashville’s average annual rainfall is 49 inches. The top-ranked city above, Mallorys, is in the greater Nashville area. In addition, heavy rainfall on Feb.6, 2019, registered six inches throughout the greater metropolitan area.

Knoxville’s annual rainfall is 52 inches. Chattanooga’s average is 53 inches. Storms hit all three cities from time to time and bring with them thunder, lightning, rain, and tornadoes.

For more information check out our article Top Cities that Flood in Tennessee.

How to Protect Your Home from Rain

From the lists above, you can see that Tennessee gets its fair share of rain. Not only that, but you can also tell that heavy rain can show up almost any time of the year. That means that now is the time to protect your home from rain.

Here are our recommendations.

  • Install and maintain gutters and downspouts. Make sure your gutters are clear and sized adequately to carry the water that collects and runs off your roof. Downspouts also need to be clear to allow the water to flow from the gutters to the ground. Repair any breaks or problems before the rain arrives.
  • Install downspout extensions. Add extensions to the downspouts to route water well away from the foundation.
  • Practice proper landscaping. Ensure that the ground around your foundation slopes away. That way, when the 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 soil around your foundation has a different drainage factor than the surrounding soil. This happened as a result of excavation to install the basement or crawl space. The backfill soil is much looser than the undisturbed soil. This forms a bowl that collects water and moves it right up against the foundation. That’s why we’re trying to move water away from the foundation.
  • Waterproof your basement or crawl space. First, fix any basement or crawl space cracks. Then install a drainage system and sump pump to collect and remove any leaks.

Rainwater can find its way into your basement or crawl space, whether it’s a gentle rain or one of the massive rainfalls we’ve listed above.

While the above listing is a good starting point, we recommend that you consult the professionals at AFS Foundation and Waterproofing Specialists 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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