Dear Tom,
My family recently returned to Chicago from a visit to Tucson, Arizona. We were told Tucson is one of the driest places in the country. Where is the driest spot?
—Roger Tager
Dear Roger,
With an average precipitation of 10.92 inches, Tucson is certainly a dry place, but not nearly the driest. Many locations in the Southwest receive considerably less precipitation. Average precipitation at Phoenix is 8.03 inches, for example, and at Yuma it’s only 2.81 inches.
At the Mercury Desert Rock Airport located 48 miles from Furnace Creek, in Death Valley, Calif., average annual precipitation is only 1.06 inches, making it the driest location in the United States. In recent years, however, Calexico, in southern California on the Mexican border, has been drier. Only 0.22 inches fell there in 2002, for example.