Do I Want to Live in Washington State? Or Maybe West Virginia?

Washington State and West Virginia are on my list of states where I want to look for a piece of land to build an off-the-grid home.

I have a list of criteria a property must meet before considering purchasing it. These criteria are listed in the article ” Where to Live Off the Grid – What States are the Best?

In that blog post, I also look at the plant hardiness zones because the low minimum temperatures for the area delineate the zones.

I don’t want to live in an area that is colder than where I live now. Based on the temperature map, some states lost priority while others moved to the top of the list.

This post and the Range of Precipitation in Tennessee and Oregon is concerned with annual precipitation. Rainfall and total precipitation are important parameters because I want to garden without worrying about constant watering.

I’m used to living in an area that receives around 40 inches of yearly rainfall with quite a bit of free-flowing water in streams, creeks, and rivers. For those reasons, I want to buy land that gets between 35- to 50 inches of water per year.

If there’s more rain or snow than that, it might be a drag to live there as I love the sunshine.

So let’s look at the total annual precipitation for Washington State and West Virginia.

Washington State

When I think of Washington State, the first thing that comes to mind is volcanoes. Ok, maybe that’s because I’m a geologist; most people think of rainy Seattle and the temperate rainforests on the west side of the Cascade Mountains.

I’ve visited these forests, and they’re beautiful! I want to live in Washington State, but I’m not sure about the weather, to be honest.

There have to be some areas of Washington State that get more reasonable rainfall amounts.

Let’s look at the map and see what areas are in that 35- to 50-inch precipitation range.

Washington State rainfall

Wow, some areas in Washington receive over 180 inches of water in a year!

The green-banded areas are the ones I’m interested in. You can see a north-south oriented band south of the bay and a couple of counties that get 40 inches in the drier eastern counties.

Not as much of the state is available to me as I thought, but there appear to be enough areas where I could look for land. Since the region is quite mountainous, there should be land with enough topography to have some streams useful for micro-hydro power.

I’ll keep Washington State in the mix, mainly because I think it’s so beautiful and would be a good place to live off the grid.

West Virginia

If you’ve ever visited West Virginia, you know how beautiful the mountains, hills, and hollers are.

Although several web pages I’ve read caution against living in West Virginia, I think it’s a place that would fit into the life I want. I like the warmer overall temperatures compared to central New York, but it still has enough elevation for snow. The hilly topography will be ideal for micro-hydroelectric generation.

Below is a map showing the average annual precipitation for West Virginia.

West Virginia Rainfall

The whole state receives my ideal annual precipitation. Some areas in eastern WV get less than 36 inches, but the central and western regions are all in the running as far as temperature and rainfall.

As I figured, West Virginia is a prime land purchase candidate. At least for the criteria, I’ve looked at so far.

The State List

Washington has quite a few counties that receive the range of precipitation I’m looking for, and the whole state of West Virginia appears ideal for my off-the-grid home.

Here is the list of states that I want to investigate. The states listed in green are at the top of the list, those in black have very limited areas where I would want to purchase land, and the states crossed out are at the bottom of the list.

  1. Tennessee
  2. Oregon
  3. Washington
  4. Idaho
  5. West Virginia
  6. North Carolina
  7. Arkansas
  8. Colorado
  9. Maine
  10. Vermont
  11. New York
  12. New Hampshire
  13. Kentucky
  14. Missouri
  15. Alaska

In the following article, Does North Carolina, Arkansas, & Kentucky Receive Too Much Rainfall? I look at the precipitation that North Carolina, Arkansas, and Kentucky receive as I look for a place to buy land.

Where Do You Think I Should Buy Land?

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Where do you think would be a good place to build an off-the-grid home? Email me your reasons at [email protected].

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