I'm looking to get historical information on the magnitude of rainfall events for a given location (Boston, Massachusetts USA). For example, to create a histogram of rainfall events by precipitation amount for a given location. So far, I've only found "last 3 days" or "last month" -type data sets from NOAA and others. I'd like many years worth of data if possible.

I'm not looking for a shapefile, so much as tabular-type data (database, Excel, CSV, etc). Data doesn't need to be available for any arbitrary Lat/Lon, but could be for nearby POI, e.g. airports.

  • What format would you prefer? Excel table, database, shapefile, etc? Also, what area of the world are you interested in?
    – Baltok
    Nov 16, 2012 at 15:46
  • @Baltok, updated with additional information. Thanks.
    – mac
    Nov 16, 2012 at 15:57
  • 2
    Weather Underground has an API with historical archive api.wunderground.com/weather/api
    – Mapperz
    Nov 16, 2012 at 17:13
  • This is a question that looks more suited to the Open Data Stack Exchange which may not have existed when it was asked.
    – PolyGeo
    Feb 2, 2017 at 12:42

3 Answers 3


A great place to start is the PRISM Climate Group. There you can download data in gridded (i.e. text data) or image formats.

Other sources include:

If you happen to have rain gauge data, here is a nice tutorial on generating isohyetal maps.

The Rainfall-Frequency Atlas doesn't give you the raw data, but it's a good reference.

  • 1
    ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web looks like it's got what I need. PRISM and worldclim.org only report monthly averages. Thanks.
    – mac
    Nov 16, 2012 at 16:49

The data is expensive to access through an API, but it might be worth looking at Wolfram Alpha sometimes for inspiration on things like this.

It's possible to get structured data out of it and also to look at the sources it uses to compile the information.


This is not rainfall total but I would think could be directly correlated.
There is an extenstive network.and it is real time.
The USGS has the stream gauge network.
enter image description here

This is cool also.

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