rain·​fall | \ ˈrān-ˌfȯl How to pronounce rainfall (audio) \

Definition of rainfall

1 : the amount of precipitation usually measured by the depth in inches

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Examples of rainfall in a Sentence

This area has an average annual rainfall of 12 inches. an increase in annual rainfall

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All that moisture creates the possibility for heavy rainfall rates of as much as a half-inch per hour. Robert Krier, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Thunderstorms expected in mountains, possibly inland valleys," 11 July 2018 Severe flooding isn't expected today, although high rainfall rates could cause some isolated flooding, meteorologists said. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Tropical disturbance moving into Texas, bringing rain," 18 June 2018 Interior flooding could still occur, however, if rainfall rates are too high for the interior pump stations to move into the canal. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Corps insists 17th Street Canal levee is safe, even with seepage," 30 Mar. 2018 But more water in the atmosphere does mean more intense precipitation—higher rainfall rates. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "See Everything Bad About Climate Change in a Single California Town," 23 Mar. 2018 With the storm expected to last through Thursday, there was concern about the combination of rainfall rates and the long duration, said Suzanne Grimmesey, a spokeswoman for Santa Barbara County. CBS News, "Mudslides feared as strong Pacific storm heads toward weary Southern California," 21 Mar. 2018 There is a slight chance of thunderstorms, which likely would produce rainfall rates in excess of 1 inch per hour, according to the weather service. Joseph Serna, latimes.com, "Rain hits Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as residents prepare for potential flooding and mudslides," 21 Mar. 2018 The National Weather Service predicts rainfall rates between a half to three-quarters of an inch per hour, with rain totals of 5 to 10 inches in the foothills and mountains. Madison Park, CNN, "'Atmospheric river' triggers evacuations in Southern California," 21 Mar. 2018 But the record rainfall still won’t make up for the dry November. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "‘Waiting to see how it comes in’: Snow at Washington ski areas melts away with rain," 28 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rainfall.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rainfall

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for rainfall

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rainfall

The first known use of rainfall was in 1817

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English Language Learners Definition of rainfall

: the amount of rain that falls on a particular area


rain·​fall | \ ˈrān-ˌfȯl How to pronounce rainfall (audio) \

Kids Definition of rainfall

2 : amount of precipitation Their average annual rainfall is 80 centimeters.

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Comments on rainfall

What made you want to look up rainfall? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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