As it poured rain here off and on here all weekend, I started thinking (somewhat grumpily) about about measures of sunshine and rainfall in various places I’ve lived. I spent my first thirteen years in Denver, which always ranks higher than you might assume on those “days of sunshine”-type lists. I love Denver weather! Hot and dry summers, snowy but sunny winters – except, actually, if I lived there as an adult I would probably get mighty tired of the random freak snowstorms in September and May (I can remember both months getting snow as a kid).
I did a bit of searching to try to get a real picture of the comparison between Seattle (my current city) and New York City (my someday city) in terms of rain and sun. Obviously the climate in one city is quite different than the other. I’ve spent enough time in NYC to know that the bitter cold winter days and hot sticky summer days are not the most pleasant. I hate being overly cold or hot, but if it gets a significant amount more sunlight than Seattle does, the seasonal extremes might be bearable.
I finally landed on Wikipedia after getting annoyed at NOAA’s search capabilities, and filed away such facts as “The [New York City] area averages 234 days with at least some sunshine annually, and averages 58% of possible sunshine annually, accumulating 2,400 to 2,800 hours of sunshine per annum.” and “Between October and May, Seattle is mostly or partly cloudy six out of every seven days.” Then I realized I simply had to expand a section to see these handy grids – aha!
(Excuse the fuzziness!)
Here’s what I notice:
- Seattle is sunnier in the summer. That doesn’t surprise me, actually – Seattle summers are glorious.
- New York is significantly sunnier in the winter. No surprise there either.
- NYC has fewer average snowfall inches than I expected. Quite a bit less than Spokane, actually (where I lived before Seattle, and complained about snow all winter, every winter).
- 400 more hours of sunshine per year is a pretty big deal to me and my mood levels.
Overall, I wouldn’t want weather to be the sole determining factor in where I choose to live, or my happiness level in where I do live. But it is a pretty big deal to me. If I had to design my own climate, it’d be sunny and 75 for ten months out of the year, with the every-few-weeks cloudy and cooler day thrown in there just as a chance to wear a jean jacket and boots. Then December and January would be snowy – just long enough to for me to experience the holidays and my birthday with all my wintry associations. I can dream, can’t I?