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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

The 10 Best Weather Cities

We all enjoy reading lists of the best and the worst of almost everything. From time to time I’m asked what are the best cities for weather and what do we consider the worst. I’ve even been asked to select a location for someone who’s trying to relocate from a part of the country they dislike.

In the 2002 Farmers’ Almanacâ„¢, we addressed this very issue. Keeping in mind that any list is highly subjective, the factors we considered included temperatures, sky conditions, precipitation, humidity and wind. Working on the assumption that heat is a good thing and rain, sleet and snow is bad, let me present our list of the 10 Best Weather Cities in the USA.

1. YUMA, ARIZONA–number one on our list because average precipitation is 2.65 inches, 17 rainy days per year, and number one for sunshine with 90%. It is third among the least humid cities, with an average relative humidity of just 38%. The drawback—–summer temperatures average at least 100º F from June 4 to September 24, and 105ºF from June 22 to August 26. But, hey, it’s dry heat!

2. LAS VEGAS, NEVADA–comes in second to Yuma in terms of annual precipitation at 4.19 inches, least number of rainy days per year (26), and sunshine 85% of the time.

3. PHOENIX, ARIZONA–tied with Las Vegas for number two in terms of possible annual sunshine (85%). It also has the lowest relative humidity at 37% and rated fifth overall in terms of the least annual precipitation with 7.11 inches and eighth for the least number or rainy days (36).

4. EL PASO, TEXAS–boasts abundant sunshine, very low relative humidity, scanty rainfall and relatively mild winters.

5. RENO, NEVADA–abundant sunshine throughout the year. Here the daily range of temperatures often exceeds 45ºF. While afternoon temperatures may be above 90ºF, a light wrap is often needed after sunset. Rain occurs chiefly in the form of afternoon summer thunderstorms, but the humidity is very low during summer and moderately low during the winter.

6. ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO–has an arid climate with abundant sunshine, low humidity, scant precipitation, a and wide, yet tolerable, seasonal range of temperatures.

7. WINSLOW, ARIZONA–is the seventh least humid city (46%) and eighth driest with annual precipitation totaling only 7.64 inches.

8 & 9. BISHOP and BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA–both make it onto the list because they ranked respectively as the third and fourth driest cities overall. Bishop has 29 rainy days and Bakersfield has only 37 during the year.

10. SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA–during the spring and summer typically sees low marine clouds at night and early morning but they burn off as the day warms. The storm track from the Pacific usually lies well to the north keeping most of the clouds and precipitation out of the region. With the exception of the Santa Ana winds blowing during September and October, temperatures are quite comfortable.

So there you have it. Based upon sunshine, heat, low humidity and the other criteria, this was our selection of the best weather cities in the United States as reported in the 2002 Farmers’ Almanac.

Stay tuned tomorrow for our list of the 10 Worst Weather Cities and plans for compiling a new list.

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51 comments

1 George McGovern { 01.17.10 at 2:43 am }

Not sure what sadochist thinks that anyplace who has triple digits all summer long, with maybe lows in the 90′s is a good place to live. Where is Death Valley on this list? It’s dry and plenty warm, in the summer.

Summers in Bakersfield, for example, are HOT, super HOT, so hot that combined with the tasteful cow and factory worker air that it’s hard to breath. (worst air pollution in the country) The winters are dismal, cold without any chance of snow or anything fun besides the chance of death.

San Diego, as horrible as is it sounds, is always sunny. Doesn’t get nearly as cold, never a frost by the coast, with it’s almost year round temp 70 (summers) – 60 (a cold winter day) With the warm Santa Annas maybe getting to 80, low 90′s in the east, for a few days out of the year. It’s a hard life for those who can afford it.

2 GREG { 01.08.10 at 9:56 pm }

PAYSON AZ,SHHH IT’S A SECRET,FOUR MODERATE SEASONS,BEAUTIFUL PONDERSOSA FORESTS AND CLEAR MOUNTAIN LAKES,LOW COST OF LIVING,NO POLLUTION..

3 Lori { 01.04.10 at 2:17 am }

Well, it’s not 2002 anymore so the cities with the best places to live based on weather needs to be updated. I have to now disagree that CA should be in the mix. The economy here is one of the worst and most expensive. No longer a great place to raise a family or have your kids come home. I’d like to see an overall rating with a great town, friendly people, average income and mostly nice weather throughout the year. Any one know? I live in Manhattan Beach, CA. Great town, great weather, but it’s too crowded, too many cars, houses butt up against each other, no yards, expensive and not friendly.

4 peter { 01.02.10 at 2:03 pm }

All the top cities are desert cities. I live in albuquerque and it can be 25 degrees but the sun is always shining!!!!!!!! Humidity is the worst, You never feel clean. But i dont know how reno is ahead of Albuquerque it snows like 30-40 inches a year in reno, it snows once or twice if were are lucky in albuquerque

5 Tim C. { 12.24.09 at 1:52 pm }

Colorado, Utah, New Mexico have the best weather of all. Denver can be cold, but it seldom lasts long. Just when you’re tired of snow, it warms up and melts away. Summers can be hot, in the city but no humidity, and nights cool down, and escape to the mountains. Where else can you ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon? No place else besides Colorado.

6 Nick { 12.22.09 at 12:50 am }

If the method to select these cities was statistical, then you can’t interject the words “best” and “worst” in your criteria. Statistics are objective. “Best” and “worst” are subjective. Some people LOVE cloudy weather. Some people LOVE snow. Some people LOVE cool or cold conditions. Some people LOVE rain. Yes, some people love the opposite too, but you already assume that. The point is that you can’t assume that. BEST for some people is a place that is always cloudy, cool, and maybe drizzly. For others, it is hot and sunny, for some it may be cold and sunny, and for yet others it may be warm and cloudy, maybe with thunderstorms. Everyone is DIFFERENT. Please understand that.

7 JR { 12.16.09 at 9:59 pm }

Best weather is in San Jose CA, average temp is 80, with blue skies and low humidity, 15 inches of rain per year ( Dec – Feb). Never rains between May to October, always can plan an outdoor event without worry, no afternoon showers or lightining

8 Pete Carter { 12.15.09 at 5:05 pm }

Places I have lived:
Arkansas
Colorado
California (southern and northern)
Washington State
Wyoming
Carolina (that is South Carolina)
New York
Toronto

My favorite for weather—hands down are the Carolinas. 4 distinct seasons, seldom extreme (with a possible hurricane), a lot of sunshine, torrential rains from time to time just to keep it interesting, and maybe twice a year a gentle snowfall (or ice storm yuk). Its humid in the summer no doubt, but from a perspective of people, cost of living, history, and the sheer character (or lack of) of the people, its my favorite place. Keep the desert give me K’lina in the Pines.

9 chip a dip { 12.13.09 at 9:46 pm }

Central Marin county is very nice but oh so expensive. That’s just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

10 K.G.F. { 12.01.09 at 1:37 am }

If you like being active, I think Colorado is the best state for weather. (I personally prefer a cooler, sunny climate with 4 distinct seasons and zero mugginess) The summers are mild and dry, no bugs, this last one it only reached 90 a couple of days (which I happened to be in San Antonio…110 every day), and my wife and I could bike, hike, play tennis every day. 300 days of sunshine. I look at Pikes Peak every day. Skiing every weekend. So if you like to stay fit, have fun, try CO. If you prefer to swing by Taco Bell at lunch and spend the afternoon in front of the boob tube, then try Vegas, El Paso, Phoenix.

11 Steve { 11.17.09 at 7:44 pm }

California coast within 5 miles of the ocean from San Luis Obispo Southward to San Diego. Palo Alto and Redwood City. These are all temperate weather areas, never too hot, never too cold. In Southrrn California you have to deal with the overcast marine layer from May to July (June Gloom). These are also some of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. For those who like four seasons without extremes, the Northern Sierra Foothills in California between 2000 and 3000 elevation provide four distinct seasons with mild Summers and Winters. Nevada City/ Grass Vallry area is at the perfect elevation of 2500 ft.

12 blaine { 11.15.09 at 2:29 am }

can anyone help me? i’m looking to move any place. i need good weather, great medical care, cost of living low, and transportaion to get to dr’s, like a bart system. moving out of ca would be okay, it seems really hard to find a place without snow and that is not to hot in the summer months. my dr. said that tucson would be cool enough? not sure? if you can help me , i would really appreciate your help. thanks blaine

13 Ania { 11.10.09 at 10:01 pm }

Best weather is in lake Tahoe. I lived in San Diego – Pacific Beach – claudy mornings, chili evenings. I have never been as cold as in Sausalito. Could not make it more than 3 month. Finally here. We have over 300 days of sun. Winter is nice – some folks walks in t-shirt most of the time (at the lake level).

14 tickyul { 10.29.09 at 10:53 pm }

They put Tucson on the list? They have to be insane. I lived there for 18 months. It starts getting into THE 90′S in april, and is hot as hell until the end of october. I remember going to bed at 2 am and checking the thermometer and it said 92 degrees. It gets so hot during the day, that the buildings will store so mucht heat, then at night the building will release all of that energy. No way you can sleep in the summer months without AC. 6-7 months of roasting weather does not make for nice place to live.

15 Jennifer { 09.26.09 at 9:51 pm }

I live in Michigan along the coast of lake michigan and the weather in the summer is perfect, a hot summer means 2 weeks of 90 degree temps and a bad winter means 2 weeks below zero. BUT everything in between is quite mild, especially when you are closer to the lake. Winds blow in in September and March and you know when a season arrives. Leaves have been changing later and later every year, so global warming will probably take the edge out of the winters later on. The cost of living here is exceptional, so that makes up for the hard winters.

16 Dominic { 08.30.09 at 8:57 pm }

Anyone looking to move to Phoenix expect long summers with little break from the heat. The average summer days are around 110 and the nights high 80′s. The heat can try anyone’s nerves if your stuck out in it. There’s a good side you only need summer cloths all year long.

17 Jenny { 08.20.09 at 2:17 pm }

I was in Vegas this July. For it to be #2 is crazy! We couldn’t even go outside much it was so hot. It’s a great place to go to if you want the Vegas party life for a weekend, but in no way is it even in the top 10 in terms of weather.

18 cnkad { 08.02.09 at 12:48 am }

Yuma? vegas? pheonix? Well I guess if you like scorching heat for much of the year….But I personally dont think that a place that forces you to run your air most of spring and all summer, day and night to avoid heat stroke constitutes as great weather….but..thats just me.

19 Sorok { 07.23.09 at 10:21 pm }

Besides San Diego, the best weather in the U.S. is in Redwood City,
CA according to the NWS. I live about 5 miles South in Palo Alto where its afew degrees warmer. The soil is deciduous and the climate is arid which is pefect blend We have a lot more than Palm Trees and it doesn’t rain from Mid April until late September. Unfortunately, Real Estate prices reflect the weather, you pay for it.

20 Triff.be { 07.22.09 at 8:27 pm }

Hi Linda, I probably think that Virginia Beach could be your Eden. Winters generally experience cool temperatures (the coldest night this winter dropped to only 25°, while the warmest day reached a nice 75°). But most of time temperatures oscillates between 40 to 60 in the afternoon. Summers are temperate by the Ocean and this summer the hottest day reached 93°, but usually the temperatures don’t exceed 90. Besides, I have heard that the way of life is great in there…

21 linda { 07.20.09 at 7:12 am }

i am looking for a sea-side town that has great weather and friendly people. temperate in the winter, cool is ok. warm, but not hot, in the summer. needs to be in the east, since that is where family is. close enough to a metropolitan area for decent shopping, but not too close as to be disruptive. college area is ok. any suggestions?

22 Nick { 07.13.09 at 9:13 pm }

You can’t write an article about best weather cities, because everyone in the world has a different opinion about what is “best.” Some like sun, some hate sun and want clouds year-round, some love snow, some want low humidity, some want high humidity, some want extreme cold, some want no cold, some want moderate temperatures, some want extreme temperatures…. it’s all SUBJECTIVE. You can’t tell people what the best ten cities are without personalizing it to what each person calls “best.”

23 John { 07.13.09 at 5:16 am }

I have lived in the San Diego area for 6 years now. The only thing that keeps me here is the weather, it can not be beat. The more I look for other places to live, the more I realize this. Too bad the people couldn’t live up to the weather or I would want to stay. Just too much of the shallow LA idiot syndrome for me. If that doesn’t bother you, San Diego is the best weather wise.

24 carol { 07.09.09 at 4:17 pm }

Santa Monica, CA – I’ve lived everywhere in the U.S., my husband was in the Air Force, and it’s just pure paradise here. The weather here is mild/warm (low 70′s) with cool nights (low 60′s) almost all year round. There is morning fog/clouds, then it gets warm and sunny. It does get a little cooler in the winter, we use a small space heater occasionally – and the AC maybe 5 or 6 days in the summer when it gets into the high 80′s (rarely). It’s also beautiful here, very lush, flowers and palm trees everywhere and the ocean breezes keep the air clean, unlike LA. People here are amazingly friendly. There’s only one major problem here – the cost of living is ridiculous, higher than NYC.

25 Tom { 06.30.09 at 4:49 pm }

For me the weather in South Maui is perfect. 70 to 85 pretty much year around. It rains, but hey it’s still 80.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is great weather wise, but the traffic, crowds and house prices kill the benefits.

I want OUT of California, NO snow, little wind. That’s not asking for too much, is it ?

26 John { 06.29.09 at 6:45 pm }

I’ve lived in San Francisco, Austin, NY, and SoCal … now living in San Diego … San Diego has the best weather, hands down … usually is between 65-75 degrees year round … i’ve lived here for two years now and i feel totally spoiled! i feel like i’ll never want to move now because the weather is so frickin good … that’s the only downfall

27 Tim { 06.28.09 at 11:36 am }

Jenn,
As a post script, I’ve lived in Walworth County Wisconsin (on the IL border) for 50 years and I’ve never seen a tornado.

28 Tim { 06.28.09 at 11:31 am }

Jenn,
In the midwest, the trade-off for severe summer weather is severe winter weather. A decent balance is found in Chicago. Stay away from rivers and steams, you don’t want to deal with flooding.

29 Jenn { 06.24.09 at 4:58 pm }

Can anyone tell me a mid western state that doesn’t get tornados or severe weather? I would like to move but now live in NJ where we don’t usually have to worry about that type of weather. We have a share but usually nothing to write home about.

30 Steve { 06.23.09 at 10:18 pm }

I can’t beleive you didn’t pick a city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cities like Oakland or Berkeley. Because of the breeze coming off of SF Bay, it seldom gets over 85 degrees. Usually about 65-75 degrees in the summer. There is NO humitity! We get NO snow! We get ocasional rain usally in January or February. Maybe because your magazine is back East you take snow for granted. Is that why you picked Reno and Albuquerque? I have been in the latter in November and it was 10 degrees, The cities around San Francisco Bay hardly ever get below freezing plus no smog!

31 cynthia wager { 06.09.09 at 3:26 pm }

Hi

I would love to find a place that has moderate to low humitity and moderate temps in all seasons. Don’t mind rain but do need more sun than rain. Does such a place exist?

32 LEN { 05.30.09 at 11:58 pm }

I lived most of my life in Western Illinois on the Mississippi river. When I got an early retirement from Caterpillar, I could move and live anyplace in the world. Moved to suburbs about 15 miles west of downtown Denver and after 15 years here I still love it. Interesting winters but no long cold spells. Snows sometimes but it melts off in a few days. Lots of sunshine, very low humidity, and bearable summers. Cool my home with a central swamp cooler, and very rarely leave it on after dark. Almost alway sleep under a blanket if window is open. Best of all, cost of living is not that bad either. Oh, and I dont have any mosquitos or biting bugs. LEN

33 meoryou { 05.28.09 at 11:44 pm }

Redwood City, Ca…There motto is even Climate best, by government test. Has made it into several top 10 weather lists. Far enough south from San francisco that you are not impacted by the fog, but close enough that you get the cool down in the evenings.

34 Nick { 05.16.09 at 3:14 am }

First of all, this article is complete nonsense because it’s trying to pinpoint the ten cities with the best weather in the country. Well, I’m afraid to tell you, but sun and no precipitation is not weather. Weather is something that happens in our atmosphere (like clouds, rain, wind, snow, etc.), and last I checked the sun is not in our atmosphere because I’m not dead.

Cindy, some of the ideas that Peter suggested are maybe the best in the country, but even those are not ideal. I live in the Seattle area and we still get way too much sun, particularly from March through October. There’s a stretch from about May through September when you can go five straight months with nothing but sun and hot days, and Northwesterners don’t believe in air conditioning, or else have never heard about it. It gets really awful and really boring very fast. So the Pacific Northwest isn’t a great place. Maybe northeastern Ohio? Although the best place might be Juneau, Alaska – I’ve been there in June before and the weather was great – cool, cloudy and misty… and most important of all, comfortable. They still get sun, but probably less of it than most major cities in the country. Pretty isolated city, though. It may not meet your criteria of warm, but I guess it depends on your definition of warm.

Well, it’s that time of year that the weather turns hot and bad in Seattle, so I think I’m going to retreat to southern Chile right about now…

35 DeEtta { 05.09.09 at 8:03 pm }

Every place has weather? I live in Oxnard, Ca and it is always within 10 degrees of 70. No heat, sunny all year, extremely little rain, you can see the snow on the mountains, occasionally. Soo boring. I have lived in So Ca all my life and I would like to experience the seasons, but not too much season. I travel to Arizona and Nevada a couple of times a year and I can’t imagine anyone thinking the heat in those states is a good thing, it is absolutely miserable. And did they really list Bakersfield Ca in the top 10? You’ve got to be kidding!!! Does anyone know anything about the weather in Austin?

36 Lila { 04.22.09 at 12:48 pm }

Hi,
Arizona is the ideal place if you love heat. Sure there is some wind in the hot weather months and you could see flash floods but they are not in the cities.
No place on earth is absolutely ideal. Every place gets “weather.”
But for me, I love the mountains and the desert, there is a kind of peace there.

37 Triff { 04.13.09 at 9:55 pm }

Jen, your “ideal” city is seemingly located in Southern Arkansas, Northern Mississippi, Northern Alabama, Northern Georgia, Southern South Carolina or Eastern North Carolina… These regions enjoys a very mild weather in winter (with some cold spells at any time, but also sometimes even hot spells !), besides these regions get a beautiful fall ! I would like also to point out that South Carolina receives a great amount of sunshine hours during the winter (the most in percent of possible of all Eastern US, except Florida)…

38 Heather { 04.06.09 at 8:37 pm }

Hi! I have lived all over the US. I grew-up in and around Wichita KS. Depending on what you are looking for Wichita has every season, but less snow..until this year when it snowed in April. The coldest place I lived was Augusta Maine, the best weather is in the Bay Area (CA). San Diego has wonderful weather as well, but CA folks are eccentric & you have to always bring your A game if you want to be employed. My 2 favorite places, and not because of the weather are Boston & Chicago. What the guy said about San Francisco, is almost true, but if you visit make sure to come during the warmest time of year which is in the months of September and October.

39 Doug { 03.15.09 at 1:55 am }

It depends how you define best. I live in Colorado Springs and love the weather here….about the only two months I don’t care for are January and February, but the sun is out pretty much every day and the snow melts right away. I liked the weather in San Diego and think it has the best year round weather. I also liked the weather in Phoenix but it’s a little too hot for me from May through September. I didn’t like any place on the East coast and hate humidity….but I here the Carolinas are pretty nice (haven’t been there).

40 dave { 02.23.09 at 10:03 pm }

Peter,

by your standards, Death Valley is the most optimal place to live. Actually, the surface of the sun is the most optimal place.

You are basically saying, “the more of a desert a place is, the better the weather.” That is a silly metric for “best weather” cities. You might as well call this list “top 10 cities built in the desert.”

Almost no one would consider Arizona or Las Vegas the top weather cities… trust me, I used to live in Vegas and most people there don’t like the weather.

41 Jen { 02.12.09 at 3:03 pm }

I am looking for a city that has mild winters but you still get Fall and Spring. Any suggestions. I hate cold weather, but I still want a small dose in December… LOVE autumn and cant do without it….

42 Karl { 02.05.09 at 11:36 pm }

Well, I have to say with over 70% of our days are in the SUN, Wichita, Kansas is a nice place to live. Not that many attractions around, but in the 2 yrs that I’ve lived here, once you become acquainted with the city and its people, the rest falls into place.

43 Lee { 01.26.09 at 5:55 pm }

I would avoid San Francisco. It is never warm. There are virtually no days when you can comfortably wear a short-sleeve shirt outside, unless you are obese or naturally feel hot. Do you enjoy doing things like sitting in a clean park on a warm day? There are very few of either in S.F. San Diego or even Los Angeles have much better weather.

44 garyp41 { 01.09.09 at 3:54 pm }

i have lived in several cities and i believe cal. does have the best weather however the housing is a little over priced. i live in denver and believe it or not, it doesn’t snow as much as you think-average. during the winter is 45 degrees and summer around 88 degrees. I know more people move into colorado than move out. Houston is a nice city however the summer heat is bad. i’ve been there a couple of times. Although i can’t stand usc or the oakland raiders, California I think is best for you, i lived there for 4 years.

45 Dan { 01.08.09 at 4:29 am }

OXNARD, CALIFORNIA – This city has the best average weather in the nation. It is in a dry subtropical climate zone with mild winters that are warmer than average and mild summers that are cooler than average. The average minimum temperature is 52.4 degrees and the average maximum temperature is 70 degrees. In spring and summer, there are some low marine clouds in the morning but there are 354 days of sunshine all year. The average annual precipitation is 14.77 inches. In September and October, sometimes there are Santa Ana winds.

46 Judi { 12.04.08 at 2:41 pm }

I read the list of the 10 best cities re weather. None of the cities mentioned wind which was listed as one of the criteria. I want a city west of the Mississippi that does not have constant wind such as Casper, WY. We like Montana, Colorado, NM. Most days are 25mph or better with up to 85 mph gusts. I don’t mind the cold but absolutely hate the wind.

47 John { 09.10.08 at 11:57 pm }

Mike,

Consider San Francisco for your needs, temperature is in your range basically year round, rains consistently for about 45 days out of 90 in the winter, has beaches but not as warm as southern california beaches

48 Mike { 09.01.08 at 5:41 pm }

i need a US city with a large population but little humidity. i want a city also along a beach and an avg temp of 65-75F. i dont really care how much it rains… just around 100 days per year. if you could help me out, it would be awesome!

49 Barbara { 08.22.08 at 7:12 pm }

Hello,, loved this,,, I live in Houston, and yes 3 months is very hot, and then you have a stunning fall, winter and spring, with changes of temps and nothing too horrid one way or another,,
It is nice to have some winter, and be able to play outside!!
I work outside all year long here, and it is worth a look,,,,,

50 Peter Geiger { 08.05.08 at 2:42 pm }

Cindy:

You have asked a great question. Our Best Cities list is based on sunshine and heat. So, what if you like “cooler and cloudy” conditions. Well, for a start lets eliminate the Southeast and Southwest. Let’s also toss out Texas where some summers you get 100 days of 100 degree heat. Summers are just too hot and humid.

I live in Maine and have only used my air conditioner 4 times this summer. For most people the Great Lakes and Northern New England are too harsh in the winters to compensate for summer.

I woud probably consider, the Northwest, Colorado, Wisconsin and most of New England. But even the Mid-Atlantic states are hot and sticky during the summer.

If other would like to weigh in on the three Cs – cooler, cloudy and comfortable – let’s help Cindy.

51 Cindy Spiess { 08.05.08 at 2:08 am }

I am looking for a city where it is warm but not hot in the summer, warm summer nights and mostly CLOUDY. Cool winters are alright. Any ideas???

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