"Florida's just being a jerk now." At least that's one social media statement making the Internet rounds accompanied with a temperature map showing one giant frigid, blue country, except of course for the balmy yellow- and orange-colored Sunshine State.
Living in Florida, but having been raised in Massachusetts, it's nice especially in the winter months to appreciate the temperate weather. Sure, the summer months are horrendous, but it's really nice here more often than you might think. One might even say "pleasant."
And that brings me to Kelly Norton, a software engineer from Atlanta who took his recent miserable weather experience and put it to good use.
"It has been a winter of dreadful weather so far," Norton writes on his website kellegous.com. "I spent January flying back and forth from New York expecting to find a different set of conditions at the end of each leg. Whichever way I went, bitter cold greeted me at the end of the jet way and often with a coating of slick ice. 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?"
So the fruits of his labor are an interactive map of the entire continental U.S. in which he figured out using a certain set of parameters just how many days a year in each location are pleasant.
He defines pleasant as having a mean temperature between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit, but also the minimum temperature being above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum temperature being below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of that, the day would have to have no significant precipitation or snow depth.
Norton then mined 23 years worth of data from the NOAA to plot his findings. You can view that map here: http://www.kellegous.com/j/2014/02/03/pleasant-places/
For the nation, the heat and rain limitations pretty much guaranteed Florida wouldn’t be in the top spot. So yeah, California is king with Los Angeles coming in tops with 183 pleasant days.
Here's the top 5 in the nation:
Los Angeles: 183
San Diego: 192
Oxnard, Calif.: 166
Simi Valley, Calif.: 156
San Francisco, Calif.: 153
And here's the bottom 5 in the nation:
McAllister, Mont.: 14
Northeast of Reno, Nev.: 15
Clancy, Mont.: 15
Douglas, Wyo.: 15
East of Cedarville, Calif.: 16
So where does that leave Florida? Well to be honest, with most of the country having you know...winter, we're sitting pretty. There are very few places in the U.S. with more than 100 pleasant days, but Florida's top spot has 102.
After that, Florida's pleasant factor dips below the century mark with Naples coming in at 97, St. Petersburg at 96, Port Charlotte and 95 and a three-way tie at 94 among Cape Coral, New Port Richey and Jacksonville.
Central Florida scores well with both Orlando (92) and Daytona Beach (91) having about three months of perfection a year.
South Florida doesn't fare as well in the list, probably because it's hotter and rains a lot. West Palm Beach comes in at 74 days, Miami at 70 days and Fort Lauderdale with only 68 days.
At the bottom of Florida's list is Havana up in North Florida near the Georgia border, with only 59 pleasant days.
Norton's geographic designations are fairly wide, and in some cases not the most known city. Cape Coral, for instance, might have been better labeled Fort Myers. There are also multiple zones in some cases, such as two Orlandos, two Kissimmees and two Fort Lauderdales.
There are even four readings for Jacksonville. So in these cases, I just ignored the lower scoring ones and went with the top score.
So with that in mind, here's Florida's complete 44-city list ranked by score:
St. Petersburg 96
Port Charlotte 95
Cape Coral 94
Port Richey 94
Daytona Beach 91
Port St. Joe 90
Panama City 85
Vero Beach 78
Fort Walton Beach 76
Port St. Lucie 75
West Palm Beach 74
Key Largo 72
Long Key 72
Key West 69
Lake City 69
Fort Lauderdale 68
So while the rest of nation may be calling us jerks, let's remember about sticks and stones and enjoy our pleasantries.