Kelly Norton

They're all in California, according to this NOAA-informed map.

"Nice" weather is extremely subjective. Who's to say that basking under the Florida Keys's sun-washed skies is any less sublime than crunching through fresh snow in Bangor, Maine?

Well, software engineer Kelly Norton might politely disagree. Norton spent his January flying to and from New York, and was mightily bummed at the weather whenever he got off his plane. "Whichever way I went, bitter cold greeted me at the end of the jet way and often with a coating of slick ice," he writes on his website. "It’s hard not to dwell on anomalous and unpleasant weather. It got me wondering, though, where in the U.S. do you go if you want the most 'pleasant' days in a year?"

To answer that question, Norton designed a map of where in America you're most likely to experience days of "pleasant" weather. Being from Atlanta, the engineer defined pleasant using rather Southern parameters: The mean temperature must be between 75 and 55 degrees, and the day's minimum can't drop below 45 nor the max exceed 85. Using that criteria and a mother lode of meteorological data from NOAA, he was able to elicit what are allegedly the country's most fair-weather burgs. Not surprisingly, they are all in California:

1. Los Angeles (an average of 183 "pleasant" days per year)
2. San Diego (182)
3. Oxnard (166)
4. Simi Valley (156)
5. San Francisco (153)

As someone who's lived in San Francisco, I would take serious issue with calling the city's weather "pleasant." Due to ever-shifting fog and sun-obscuring clouds and ocean wind that can be like a litter-spewing jet engine to the face, you need to carry around an arsenal of layers to don or shed at any given moment. I expect people around the nation looking at Norton's analysis would take issue with some other designations, as well. Like his list of the five "least pleasant places":

1. McAllister, Montana (14 days)
2. Northeast of Reno, Nevada (15)
3. Clancy, Montana (15)
4. Douglas, Wyoming (15)
5. East of Cedarville, California (16)

In Norton's estimation, there is a vast zone of unpleasant weather hovering above the American West. He seems to be expecting residents of least-pleasant Montana to carp about his low tolerance for the cold: "I’m sure, though, they would shake their frost-bitten fingers at me and remind me that not everyone can take the overwhelming heat of 55° F." But I believe he's onto something, given McAllister's butt-chapping forecast from Wednesday:

You can get detailed readings for how "pleasantness" changes month to month by scrolling over the interactive map. People of the Northeast, take heart: While your variously plowed streets might be choked with snow right now, it's only 207 days until September!

Map images by Kelly Norton

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: A Lyft scooter on the streets of Oakland in July.
    Transportation

    4 Predictions for the Electric Scooter Industry

    Dockless e-scooters swept cities worldwide in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, expect the battery-powered micromobility revolution to take a new direction.

  2. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  3. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  4. photo: Dominque Walker, founder of Moms 4 Housing, n the kitchen of the vacant house in West Oakland that the group occupied to draw attention to fair housing issues.
    Equity

    A Group of Mothers, a Vacant Home, and a Win for Fair Housing

    The activist group Moms 4 Housing occupied a vacant home in Oakland to draw attention to the city’s affordability crisis. They ended up launching a movement.

  5. Environment

    Housing Discrimination Made Summers Even Hotter

    The practice of redlining in the 1930s helps explain why poorer U.S. neighborhoods experience more extreme heat.

×