Crestview not quite ‘rainiest’ city, but it’s still wet

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Crestview’s annual rainfall total of 65.23 inches put it well above the state average of 54.5.

Annie Blanks @DestinLogAnnie

CRESTVIEW — Though the city of Crestview may have a reputation of being one of the rainiest cities in Florida, local weather data doesn’t necessarily back up that claim.

Crestview has cracked various lists in the past couple of years for its rainfall total, including a 2016 SFGate story that put the northern Okaloosa city at No. 16 nationally on a list of rainiest cities. The website said it got data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration precipitation records.

Crestview’s annual rainfall total of 65.23 inches put it well above the state average of 54.5, but behind two other Florida cities on SFGate list, including Homestead at No. 14 and Pembroke Pines at No. 12.

A Fox News article also ranked Crestview at No. 16 on the list of rainiest U.S. cities.

But Tim Curmak, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mobile, said that while Crestview certainly sees higher-than-average rainfall totals, the entire Florida Panhandle generally sees much higher annual precipitation rates than other parts of Florida and most of the United States.

“That whole part of the Panhandle probably sees similar amounts,” he said. “Some may be locally higher, but it looks like, for the most part, the Florida Panhandle generally sees 60 to 65 inches of rain per year.”

According to NWS Mobile data, which goes back to 1948, Crestview averages 62.91 inches of rain each year. For comparison’s sake, Pensacola averages 65.27 inches and Destin/Fort Walton Beach average 62.35 inches.

During last weekend’s rain storm, where a large weather system dumped several inches of rain on the area, Crestview received less than other Okaloosa county towns. Destin received the most rain at 8.93 inches, the Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport received 8.48 inches, Crestview clocked in third at 7.63 inches and Niceville came in last at 6.23 inches.

Curmack said the area typically sees more rain than other regions due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.

“This region is actually one of the wettest in the country,” he said. “We’re right here on the Gulf and there’s no lack of moisture, and because we have that moisture readily available year-round … we’re more likely to get rain any time a system comes through.

“We also get tropical systems here too, and those can dump a lot of rain,” he added.

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