Rain facts

*Mt. Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii, has up to 350 rainy days every year.

*The wettest place on earth is Mawsynram, in Meghalaya State, India. It gets 467.5 inches a year.

*Wettest state in the US: Louisiana, with an annual rainfall of 56 inches.

*The most intense rainfall recorded with modern instruments was 1.5 inches in one minute in Basse Terre on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe on Nov. 26, 1970.

*The Atacama Desert, in northern Chile, receives virtually no rain. Rain squalls occur over small areas of the desert only several times a century.

*Most rain in a day: 73.62 inches in Cilaos, Runion, an Indian Ocean island, on March 15-16, 1952.

*Most rain in a day (in US): 43 inches in Alvin, Texas, on July 25-26, 1979.

*Most rain in a month: 366 inches fell in Cherrapunji, India, in July 1961.

*Most rainfall in a 12-month period: 1,041.8 inches in Cherrapunji, India, from Aug. 1, 1860 to July 31, 1861.

Gauge the size of raindrops

Put about 1/4 inch of flour in a pie pan or saucer and smooth it out. Cover the dish and take it outside when it's raining. Remove the cover for 2 or 3 seconds (no longer, because more than one drop may fall in the same place). Cover the pan again and bring it inside. There will be lumps where the raindrops fall. Let them dry for an hour or so. (You can also bake the pan of flour in a very low oven.) Dump the flour through a sieve to separate the lumps. The bigger the lumps, the bigger the raindrops.

(From 'It's Raining Cats and Dogs: All Kinds of Weather and Why We Have It,' by Franklyn Branley, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1987.)

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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