National Geographic : 1952 Aug
Hawaiian Island of Kauai Claims Earth's Wettest Spot Fog shrouds the summit of Mount Waialeale near these cliffs, one of Hawaii's scenic wonders. Waialeale's rainfall has averaged 489 inches a year. In one recent year, Hawaii's an cient rain god poured 624 inches a foot of water each week-on the mountain. The U. S. Weather Bu reau has records of no other place so constantly wet (page 273). Strangely, only some 20 inches a year fall on Waimea, a coastal town just 15 miles away. Such abnormal contrasts are common in the Ha waiian Islands. As moisture-laden winds rise over mountains, they are cooled and milked of their burden before reaching the lee side. In some years Cherrapunji, As sam, rivals Kauai. One 9-month period had 1,041.78 inches of rain; July, 1861, alone saw a 366-inch fall. On July 18, 1942, a phenomenal downpour drenched Smethport, Pennsylvania, with an unofficial 30.8 inches in 4/ hours. Many a western U. S. town does not enjoy that much in a year. Wide World y Shifting Sand Dunes Swallow an Oasis Many parts of the Sahara are lifeless for lack of water. Vegeta tion appears only in scattered places where springs break through the sand. Winds sometimes cover these garden spots with dunes. Half buried walls and palms tell the fate of this Algerian oasis.