It is no secret that it rains a great deal in British Columbia. In fact, many of Canada’s rainiest places are located in the province.
With that being said, the amount of rainfall that some communities receive is far above the provincial average. Vancouverites have a penchant for complaining about the damp weather, but the city doesn’t make the top ten rainiest places in the province.
Located on Vancouver Island, Henderson Lake receives more rainfall throughout the year than any other place in North America. The soggy spot receives 7296 mm of precipitation annually – over 23 feet of rainfall. What’s more, the area holds the record for the most rainfall in a year ever: a jaw-dropping 9,307 mm fell in 1997.
But what makes this location so unique?
Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Matt MacDonald, Meteorologist, Environment Canada, who explained what makes the area an anomaly.
“Locations that are exposed on the coast tend to receive the most rainfall,” he described. “Systems hit the land’s topography from off the ocean which rings out moisture.”
Henderson Lake is surrounded by mountains, and has a croissant-like shape. What’s more, the lake is near Barkley Sound.
“In cases where you have a bay, such as how Henderson Lake is on the inlet of Barkley Sound, you’ll have moisture streaming into the bay. This convergence causes higher levels of precipitation.”
Top Ten Rainiest Places in British Columbia
Ranking Climate Station Name Annual Normal Precip (mm)
- Henderson Lake, Vancouver Island - 7296
- Mitchell Inlet, Haida Gwaii - 6379
- Boat Bluff, North Coast - 5047
- Hartley Bay, North Coast - 4673
- Sewell Inlet, Haida Gwaii - 4540
- Tasu Sound, Haida Gwaii - 4393
- Tahsis Village, NW Vancouver Island - 4334
- Ocean Falls, Central Coast - 4173
- Butedale, North Coast - 4155
- Seymour Falls, North Vancouver - 4022
Many of the places with the most precipitation are located along B.C.’s coast or in a bay. Haida Gwaii has a number of especially damp spots, as well as Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Rainfall Records
Tuesday, December 11th was the wettest December 11 in Vancouver since the weather records began at Vancouver International Airport in 1937. There was a rain total of 37.8 mm, which caused localized flooding in low-lying areas. A number of Twitter users shared images of the heavy flooding, and some of them show cars that are flooded well over the top of their tires.
Following this, Thursday, December 13 also set a record for the wettest December 13 since the records began in 1937. In addition, it saw even more rainfall than Tuesday, with a 10 am rain total of 45.8 mm. More images and videos of flooding were shared on Twitter, and there was a disruption on the SkyTrain.