Dissimilar Seattle and Detroit make a Top 10 list

Sperling's logoFresh into bankruptcy, Detroit is not having the best of summers, or for that matter of years or even decades. But at least the folks still there can enjoy the weather now along with a certain large, thriving city in the Pacific Northwest. They’re both in the Top 10 of a new list of the 50 largest metropolitan areas with the coolest summers. The Seattle area, in fact, is No. 1.

Sperling’s Best Places, which cranks out all kinds of interesting studies, crunched numbers to figure out, in its words, “the best U.S. places in the U.S. to spend a cool, comfortable summer.” The stat wonks took 30 years of data on high and low temperatures, dew points and relative humidity at high temperature to calculate something called the Sperling Heat Index, and with it, “Sperling’s Chill Cities.” Summer is defined as July and August.

Seattle (which also includes Tacoma and Bellevue), came in tops, followed by the Portland, Ore. area (which includes Vancouver, Wash.), and San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.  Detroit (along with suburban Livonia and Warren) ranked No. 9.

As Sperling’s reckoned it, Seattle had an average summer daytime high (rounded) of 75 degrees, nighttime low of 53, dew point of 51 degrees (anything below 60 is considered comfortable) and high temp relative humidity of 43%.

In a commentary, Sperling’s wrote, “Seattle has had only one day in excess of 90 degrees so far this year [to July 18], and is forecast to end the month of July without any measurable rainfall for the month.  Summers in the Pacific Northwest are probably the most pleasant in the U.S., and even the rain stays away, sometimes for a month or more at a stretch.” As someone New To Seattle who used to live in Houston, I certainly agree.

For the purpose of comparison, dead last on the big-metro list, No. 50 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., had an average day time high of 105 degrees, nighttime low of 77 degrees, dew point of 56 degrees and high temp relative humidity of 20%.  The next worst was Las Vegas, followed by Dallas.

Looking closely at the 50 largest metro areas makes some easy sense because they contain half the country’s population.  But there are 361 metro areas, and Sperling’s pulled the numbers on all of them, too.

On the full list Seattle, No. 1 among big metros, comes in at No. 8, behind Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska; Bend, Ore.; Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Wash.; Salinas, Calif.; Boulder, Colo. and Colorado Springs. Washington State, in fact, has seven entries in the top 20 (the others being Olympia, Bellingham, Bremerton-Silverdale, Longview and Spokane), far more than any other state.

Detroit clocks in at No. 103, still in the top 30%.

In case you’re wondering where absolutely to avoid now, No. 361 is Yuma, Ariz., where the average daytime high is 107 degrees.; followed by El Centro, Calif.; and the aforementioned Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale.

Detroit undoubtedly has its work cut out for it. But in Seattle, the current message is simple: Don’t sweat it.

Follow William P. Barrett’s work on Twitter by clicking here.

Share on Facebook

Leave a Reply