The “mitten outline” of Michigan has its fair share of rain and more than its fair share of snow. Here we’ve collected the data to rank the rainiest cities and towns. You can probably recognize many of these places, and maybe one is your hometown.
In this article, we look specifically at average annual rainfall followed by the top rainfall events over the past 10 years. We’ll also touch on what you can do to protect your home from rain damage.
Rainiest Cities and Towns in Michigan: Average Annual Rainfall
We’ve sifted through the rainfall information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in Michigan for the highest average annual rainfall. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 6,000 or more.
Rainiest Cities and Towns in Michigan: Heavy Rain Events
Average annual measures give 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. We set the range for Nov. 30, 2010, to Nov. 30, 2020, reviewing the heavy rain events recorded during those 10 years.
Here are the top 20 ranked by rainfall amount. All amounts shown are those registered over a 24-hour period or for the total storm if it was reported at less than 24 hours. We’ve left out cities that registered several times on the list, showing only their highest total.
There are a few cities that get a special mention:
Rockland on July 25, 2012, with three inches of rain in one hour.
Calumet on Sept. 1, 2013, with two inches of rain in 45 minutes.
Jacobsville on May 30, 2011, with 1.25 inches in 15 minutes.
For further information along these lines, check out our blog Top Cities in Michigan at Serious Risk of Flooding.
Rain in Our Hometowns
We’ve dug slightly deeper into the average and heavy rain events for the locations in Michigan where we have offices.
Livonia averages 32.7 inches of rain each year. Grand Rapids is in the top 20 for average annual rainfall at 37.1 inches, and many of the cities on that top 20 list are in the Grand Rapids area. The annual average rainfall in Traverse City weighs in at 33.1 inches. There were heavy rain events but none made the list above. That’s a good thing.
How to Protect Your Home from Rain
Looking over the list above, you can see that heavy rain shows up in Michigan in the spring and summer. Then there’s snowmelt if you need more water. That’s why it’s important to protect your home from water and to do so as soon as you can.
Here are our recommendations.
Install and maintain gutters and downspouts. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are free of obstructions and sized adequately to carry the water that collects and runs off your roof. Repair any damage before rain arrives. See our article Calculating the Important of Gutters and Drainage for more information.
Invest in downspout extensions. Add extensions to the downspouts to route water well away from the foundation. You don’t want water collecting around the walls of your basement or crawl space.
Practice proper landscaping. Slope the soil around your foundation so that water flows away from the foundation by grading it correctly. Then when 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. One big reason to move water away from the foundation is that the soil there 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 around the foundation is much looser than the undisturbed soil. This forms a bowl that collects water and moves it toward 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 before they become major flooding problems.
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.
We recommend that you consult the professionals at FSM 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.