Rain and snow are crucial elements in the Earth"s water cycle, i beg your pardon is critical to every life on Earth. Rainfall is the main way that the water in the skies comes under to Earth, wherein it fills our lakes and rivers, recharges the underground aquifers, and provides drink to plants and also animals.

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A localized heavy summer rainstorm in Colorado

Here is a standard summer rainstorm; they space often small but intense. Other rain occasions are much more "frontal" in nature, with big nimbostratus species of clouds bringing precipitation over a big area. 

Credit: Howard Perlman, cg-tower.com

Fortunately because that everyone, water is a renewable resource that moves in a cycle through neither start nor finish (but, you have the right to put in her vote regarding where friend think that begins). Water vapor (evaporated from oceans, lakes, forests, fields, animals, and plants) condenses and returns to planet as precipitation, as soon as again replenishing reservoirs, lakes, rivers, underground aquifers, and also other sources of water and also providing the moisture required by plants and also animals... An countless water cycle.

The amount of precipitation that falls approximately the people may variety from less than 0.1 inch per year in part deserts to an ext than 900 inches per year in the tropics. One of the driest point out on planet is Iquique, Chile, where no rain fell for 14 years. The world"s wettest spot, Mawsynram, in Northeastern India, competent a average of 494 inch of rain a year during the year 1989-2010, instead of the ahead placeholder, Cherrapunji, also in Northeastern India, whereby a typical of 471 inches fell during the same period.

In instance you"re wondering, the wettest ar in the joined States, as presented by data gathered by the Western regional Climate Center, is top top Mt. Waialeale, Hawaii, whereby an typical of 373 customs of rain has fallen annually in between the years 1949 and 2008. Mt. Waialeale also experienced more 보다 642 inches of rain native July 1947 come July 1948! If girlfriend think that"s something, Cherrapunji holds the single year document of 905 inch measured in 1861!

By contrast, the conterminous (the 48 "lower" states) United claims receives sufficient precipitation throughout an mean year to cover the claims to a depth of around 30 inches. This is tantamount to about 1,430 cubic mile of water every year. What happens to the water after the reaches the ground depends upon plenty of factors such as the rate of rainfall, topography, floor condition, density of vegetation, temperature, and the level of urbanization.


Wide spread flooding in Lithia Springs, Georgia just west that downtown Atlanta, after epos rainfall, 22 Sept. 2009. Impervious surfaces and urban buildup reasons rainfall come runoff lot quicker, and with better flooding consequences, throughout heavy rains.

Credit: NASA

For example, the straight runoff in a very urbanized area is reasonably great, not only since of the density of roofs and impermeable pavements permits much less rain to infiltrate the ground, but likewise because storm-sewer systems carry more water straight to the streams and lakes. In a an ext natural or undeveloped area, the straight runoff would be substantially less.

In the united States, an mean of some 70 percent of the annual precipitation returns to the atmosphere by evaporation indigenous land and also water surfaces and by transpiration from vegetation. The staying 30 percent eventually reaches a stream, lake, or ocean, partially by overland runoff during and also immediately ~ rain, and also partly through a much slower path by relocating though the ground.

Much that the rain that enters the ground filters down right into subsurface water-bearing rocks (aquifers) and eventually get lakes, streams, and also rivers whereby these surface-water bodies intercept the aquifers. The part of the precipitation the reaches the streams produce an average yearly streamflow in the United says of approximately 1,200 exchange rate gallons a day. By comparison, the Nations"s homes, farms, and also factories withdraw and also use about 355 exchange rate gallons a work (2010).


Amount that water received once an inch of rain occurs

Have you ever wondered how much water drops onto her yard throughout a rainstorm? utilizing a 1-inch rainstorm as an example, the table listed below gives instance of just how much water falls during a storm for miscellaneous land areas.


AreaArea (square miles)Area (square kilometers)Amount of water (gallons)Amount of water (liters)
A roof (40 x 70 feet)0.00010.0002571,7436,601
1 acre (1 square mile = 640 acres)0.001560.00427,154102,789
1 square mile12.617,380,00065,780,000
Atlanta, Georgia132.4342.92,293,000,0008,680,000,000
United States3,537,4389,161,92261,474,000,000,000232,700,000,000,000


Consider because that a moment just how much rainwater part cities might receive during a year. Because that example, Atlanta, Ga. Averages about 45 inches of precipitation per year; multiplying this by the 2.293 exchange rate gallons shown in the table as the variety of gallons in 1 inch reveals that some 103.2 billion gallons that water fall on Atlanta in an typical year. In a city the size of Atlanta, the per capita water usage is about 110 gallons every day or 40,150 gallons every year. Thus, the water indigenous a year"s precipitation, if it might be collected and save without any type of loss, would supply the needs of about 2,574,000 people.




Use our interaction Rainfall Calculator (English units or Metric units)to find out exactly how much rain falls on your roof or yard, in her city block, or town.



When it rains, whereby does that go?

Once ~ above the land, rainfall one of two people seeps right into the soil or i do not care runoff, which flows right into rivers and also lakes. What happens to the rain after ~ it drops depends on many factors such as:

The rate of rainfall: A the majority of rain in a short period tends to run off the land into streams quite than soak into the ground.The topography the the land: Topography is the put of the soil -- the hills, valleys, mountains, and canyons. Water falling on uneven land drains downhill till it becomes component of a stream, find a hollow ar to accumulate, favor a lake, or soaks right into the ground.Soil conditions: there is a lot of of dense clay in the southeastern United claims that rain has a tough time soaking into. Contrast that come the sandy soils in more desert areas, which enable water to easily be absorbed, at the very least initially.Density the vegetation: It has long been known that plant development helps decrease erosion brought about by flow water. If girlfriend look at hills without vegetation you"ll see gullies dug out by to run water. Land v plant cover slow the speed of the water flowing on it and also thus help to save soil native eroding.


Water Equivalents (approximate)

The complying with equivalents present the relationship in between the volume and weight that water and between the volume and speed of flow water.

Volume and weight

One customs of rain falling on 1 acre of ground is equal to about 27,154 gallons and weighs around 113 tons.An inch of snow falling same on 1 acre of ground is tantamount to around 2,715 gallons the water. This figure, however, based top top the "rule-of-thumb" the 10 customs of eye is equal to 1 inch of water, have the right to vary considerably, relying on whether the snow is heavy and also wet, or powdery and dry. Heavy, wet snow has a an extremely high water content—4 or 5 inch of this sort of eye contains about 1 inch of water. Thus, an customs of very wet eye over an acre could amount to much more than 5,400 gallons that water, while an inch of powdery snow could yield only about 1,300 gallons.One acre-foot of water (the lot of water spanning 1 acre come a depth that 1 foot) equates to 326,000 gallons or 43,560 cubic feet of water, and also weighs 2.7 million pounds.One cubic mile the water equates to 1.1 trillion gallons, 147.2 exchange rate cubic feet, or 3.38 million acre-feet, and also weighs 9.2 sunshine pounds (4.6 billion tons).

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Rate of circulation (in a stream)

Water flow at the steady rate of 1 gallon per minute is identical to: 1,440 gallons per day; 0.00223 cubic foot every second; 192.7 cubic feet every day; or 0.00442 acre-foot the water every day.Water flowing at the steady price of 1 cubic foot per 2nd is identical to: 449 gallons every minute; 646,000 gallons per day; 86,400 cubic feet every day; or 1.98 acre-feet that water per day.Water flowing at the steady price of 1 acre-foot every day is indistinguishable to: 226 gallons every minute; 326,000 gallons every day; 0.504 cubic foot per second; or 43, 560 cubic feet of water every day.Water flowing at the steady price of 1 cubic mile every day is indistinguishable to: 764.6 million gallons every minute; 1.1 trillion gallons every day; 1.7 million cubic feet per day; or 3.38 million acre-feet of water per day.