All Weather News

Fun Fact Friday: Comparing Weather in Major Cities

3 Mar 2017, 7:54 am

Ask anyone on the street, “What’s the snowiest big city in America?”

You’ll probably hear something like, Denver or another western mountain town.
But what if I told you Denver barely makes the top 20?

And it doesn’t stop there.
Weather is a strange thing, and this week’s fun fact article explores the climate of major cities across America.


Since you are already thinking about snow, it seems like a great place to start.
And for a base, we are going to start with Denver and explore the average yearly snowfalls of some major U.S. cities.

Denver, CO

  • 55″

Syracuse, NY

  • 117″

Anchorage, AK

  • 75″

Buffalo, NY

  • 96″

Minneapolis, MN

  • 55″

Green Bay, WI

  • 54″

New York, NY

  • 30″

As it turns out, the Mile High City isn’t even close to being the snowiest city in America.
The crown goes to those places downwind of the Great Lakes.
When it comes to snow Lake-Effect is king. Now we do get some substantial snow in the mountains of Colorado, but none of those cities boast a population large enough to make the list.


Hot vs. ColdOmaha firefighters battled a downtown blaze Monday morning as air temperatures fell below zero. Even with the heat from the #fire, streets and nearby buildings were covered in – Video by: Evan Ludes, Live Storms Media

Posted by WeatherNation on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cold winters are no joke. Just ask any person donned in full winter garb.
But these cities get to claim the title as coldest big cities in America.

These are the average temperatures of each city during meteorological winter. (December – February)

Denver, CO

  • 31°F

Chicago, IL

  • 26°F

Madison, WI

  • 22°F

Anchorage,  AK

  • 19°F

Minneapolis/Saint Paul,  MN

  • 18°F

The shocker here doesn’t really come into play until those last 2!
We would like to believe that all the way up in the frozen tundra of Alaska, we would see much cooler temperatures– but coastal influence in Anchorage actually keeps things quite mild through the winter months.
Just be thankful Fairbanks didn’t make the population cutoff… that’s real cold.


What Does a Chance of Rain Really Mean?

When we think rain, we think the Northwest.
Portland, Seattle, the dreary days of gray and incessant showers.
But once again you might be shocked by the average rainfall of some major cities.!

Here are the average yearly rainfalls of some major U.S. cities.

Seattle, WA

  • 38″

Portland, OR

  • 39″

New York, NY

  • 46″

Houston, TX

  • 50″

Miami, FL

  • 62″

Though the Northwest sees quite a few rainy days every year, it doesn’t come down as hard as it does in other parts of the country.
Atmospheric stability in this part of the country means we don’t typically see those torrential downpours.
So it’s no wonder places like Miami or Houston tend to get more rain with their close proximity to tropical bodies of water!


What a perfect transition– from rain to sun!
Now think of your favorite sunny destination, got it?
Let’s explore the average days of sun of a few major cities.

Los Angeles, CA

  • 186 days of sun
  • 106 days of partial sun
  • 292 days of total sunshine

Phoenix, AZ

  • 211 days of sun
  • 85 days of partial sun
  • 286 days of total sunshine

San Francisco, CA

  • 160 days of sun
  • 100 days of partial sun
  • 260 days of total sunshine

Miami, FL

  • 74 days of sun
  • 175 days of partial sun
  • 249 days of total sunshine

Denver, CO

  • 115 days of sun
  • 130 days of partial sun
  • 245 days of total sunshine

New York, NY

  • 107 days of sun
  • 127 days of partial sun
  • 234 days of total sunshine

Portland, OR

  • 68 days of sun
  • 74 days of partial sun
  • 142 days of total sunshine

That bit of information takes some time to digest.
While some cities might see more sunny days in a given year, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will see more days with clear skies!

Just try not to bring this up with your coworkers at the watering hole.
Even some of the nerdier folks out there tend to think you’re crazy when you start spouting out these stats!

(Trust me, I know)

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo 

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