Snuggled up against the mighty Pacific Ocean, where storm after storm rolls westward, Grays Harbor is one of the wettest places in Washington State. We know this, as once fall starts in full force, our communities receive rainfall by the bucket, sometimes falling sideways. Each year, Grays Harbor’s towns average a cumulative 86 inches of rain, more than double the national average. To put that in perspective locally, Washington State’s annual precipitation average is 38.78 inches, making it the 29th wettest state in the country. While the Evergreen State has a reputation for always raining, few places else get the rain that we see.
Nearby Centralia holds the state record with 55 consecutive days of measurable precipitation. While that is impressive, Grays Harbor is home to stunning records. In 1931, the Wynoochee Oxbow weather station saw the greatest annual precipitation recorded in the lowland “rainforest” area, receiving 184.56 inches of precipitation. The heaviest rainfall during a single storm for Washington State was also right here in Grays Harbor. Between January 21 and 24, the Quinault Ranger Station saw 12 inches of rain in 24 hours; 23.5 inches in 48 hours; and 28.6 inches in 72 hours; and 35 inches in the four days recorded. Each year, the Quinault Ranger Station gets an average of 137.21 inches of rain. While those facts and figures are fun, we decided to look at a handful of our cities. Keep in mind that in order for precipitation to be counted, at least .01 inches have to be measured. That means some of our notoriously misty days may not count.
We start with Aberdeen and Hoquiam, which are being counted together since they have minimal differences. Each year, the twin towns average right around 80 inches of rain, 13 of which fall during the month of December, the areas wettest month. There are, on average, 181 days of rain each year here, but only 1.2 fall in the driest month of July. For sun lovers, you’ll get around 127 sunny days a year in Aberdeen.
Out along the north coast of Grays Harbor, the city of Ocean Shores is another place that known for being rainy. Each year, the planned community averages around 75 inches of precipitation. November is the wettest month here, with an average of 12.1 inches fall over 30 days. The driest month, like everywhere in Grays Harbor, is July when just an average of 1.4 inches soaks the sandy shores. Expect around 192 days of rain each year in Ocean Shores, with 129 sunny days.
Farther up the North Beach, you’ll reach Seabrook and Pacific Beach. Known as a place for coastal getaways and days at the beach, the stretch of shoreline is drenched with an annual rainfall of roughly 100 inches a year. November is once again the wettest month of the year, with over half an inch a day for a total of 15.8 inches. The driest month is July with 1.8 inches of rain on average. Seabrook and Pacific Beach get about 187 days of rain and 129 days of sun.
The fishing town of Westport gets an annual rainfall of around 76 inches a year. Like the rest of the county, the wettest month is November, when an average of 12.5 inches of rain falls and the driest month is July, with an average of 1.2 inches. While Westport does get less rain than Pacific Beach, it averages more rainy days a year, with around 193 a year. There are 127 days of sun in town, though.
Out on the eastern side of the Grays Harbor, the county seat of Montesano receives nearly the same amount of rain as Westport and Ocean Shores. Despite being farther inland, Montesano has roughly 74 inches of rain fall each year. While you’ll get 131 days of sun each year in town, you’ll also have 180 days of rain. July will only see around 1.1 inches a year, while November is sopping wet, as 12.4 inches of rain each year.
We end near the eastern edge of Grays Harbor County, where Oakville is like a desert compared with the rest of the county. Oakville receives and average of just 52 inches of rain each year. You’ll also get just 157 days of rain a year. Sadly, that doesn’t translate to more sun, as Oakville has 130 sunny days annually. November is the wettest month, with an average of 8.8 inches of rain, while July is the driest with 0.7 inches. Now you know where to go when you want a drier town.