Last month, it got so toasty around here that we shared our list of the top ten Denver places to stay cool in a heat wave. But is Denver actually one of the least steamy major U.S. cities? That's the contention of BestPlaces.net, whose Bert Sperling has assembled a list of most chill major cities, and Denver's way up there. Check out the full, photo-illustrated roster below, complete with their respective chill index, plus Wikipedia climate info that occasionally contradicts the whole temperate concept. Stay cool! Number 10 Chill Major City in the Summertime: Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh lies in the transition between a humid continental and humid subtropical climate (Köppen Dfa/Cfa), although it lies much closer to the former. It features four distinct seasons, with precipitation somewhat evenly spread throughout the year. Summers are hot and humid (with occasional heat waves), while winters are cold and snowy. Spring and autumn are generally unstable yet mild.
Number 9 Chill Major City in the Summertime: Detroit
Detroit and the rest of southeastern Michigan have a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa) which is influenced by the Great Lakes. Winters are cold, with moderate snowfall and temperatures at night dropping below 0 °F (−18 °C) around three times a year, while summers are warm to hot with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) on 13.3 days. Snowfall, which typically peaks from December through February, averages 43.8 inches (111 cm) per season. Monthly averages range from 25.6 °F (−3.6 °C) in January to 73.6 °F (23.1 °C) in July. The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (41 °C) on July 24, 1934, while the lowest recorded temperature was −21 °F (−29 °C) on January 21, 1984. Its climate is very good for the cultivation of Jesuit pear trees. Occasionally, severe thunderstorms can strike the Detroit area.These usually occur during spring and summer and can bring large hail, strong winds and sometimes tornadoes.
Continue to keep counting down the ten most chill major cities in the summertime. Number 8 Chill Major City in the Summertime: Milwaukee
Milwaukee's location in the Great Lakes Region often has rapidly changing weather, producing a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with cold, windy, snowy winters, and very warm, humid summers. The warmest month of the year is July, when the 24-hour average is 71.8 °F (22.1 °C), while January is the coldest month, with a 24-hour average of 22.3 °F (−5.4 °C). Of the 50 largest cities in the United States, Milwaukee has the second-coldest average annual temperature, next to that of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Number 7 Major City in the Summertime: Salt Lake City
During summer, there are an average of 56 days per year with temperatures of at least 90 °F (32.2 °C), 23 days of at least 95 °F (35 °C), and 5 days of 100 °F (37.8 °C). However, average daytime July humidity is only 22%, causing these extreme temperatures to feel relatively comfortable. Winters are quite cold but rarely frigid. While there are an average of 127 days that drop to or below freezing, and 26 days with high temperatures that fail to rise above freezing, the city only averages 2.3 days at or below 0 °F (−17.8 °C). The record high temperature is 107 °F (42 °C), which occurred first on July 26, 1960 and again on July 13, 2002, while the record low is −30 °F (−34 °C), which occurred on February 9, 1933. During mid-winter, strong areas of high pressure often situate themselves over the Great Basin, leading to strong temperature inversions. This causes air stagnation and thick smog in the valley from several days to weeks at a time and can result in the worst air-pollution levels in the U.S., reducing air quality to unhealthy levels. Aside from occasional heavy snows in winter, severe weather is very rare. However, an F2 tornado did hit downtown on August 11, 1999, killing 1 person, injuring 60, and causing $170 million in damage. In addition, snowmelt from the surrounding mountains can cause localized stream flooding during late spring and early summer, the worst examples being in 1952 and especially 1983, when City Creek burst its banks, forcing city engineers to convert several downtown streets, including State Street, into waterways.
Continue to keep counting down the ten most chill major cities in the summertime. Number 6 Major City in the Summertime: Buffalo, New York
Buffalo has the sunniest and driest summers of any major city in the Northeast, but still has enough rain to keep vegetation green and lush. Summers are marked by plentiful sunshine and moderate humidity and temperature. It receives, on average, over 65% of possible sunshine in June, July and August. Obscured by the notoriety of Buffalo's winter snow is the fact that Buffalo benefits from other lake effects such as the cooling southwest breezes off Lake Erie in summer that gently temper the warmest days. As a result, the Buffalo station of the National Weather Service has never recorded an official temperature of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or more. Rainfall is moderate but typically occurs at night. The stabilizing effect of Lake Erie continues to inhibit thunderstorms and enhance sunshine in the immediate Buffalo area through most of July. August usually has more showers and is hotter and more humid as the warmer lake loses its temperature-stabilizing influence.
Number 5 Major City in the Summertime: San Jose, California
The monthly daily average temperature ranges from around 50 °F (10 °C) in December and January to around 70 °F (21 °C) in July and August. The highest temperature ever recorded in San Jose was 109 °F (43 °C) on June 14, 2000; the lowest was 19 °F (−7 °C) on December 22-23, 1990. On average, there are 2.7 nights annually where the temperature lowers to or below the freezing mark, and 16 days where the high reaches or exceeds 90 °F (32 °C). Diurnal temperature variation is far wider than along the coast or in San Francisco but still a shadow of what is seen in the Central Valley.
Continue to keep counting down the ten most chill major cities in the summertime. Number 4 Major City: Denver
July is the warmest month, with a daily average temperature of 74.2 °F (23.4 °C). Summers range from mild to hot with occasional afternoon thunderstorms and high temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) on 38 days annually, and occasionally 100 °F (38 °C). December, the coldest month of the year, has a daily average temperature of 29.9 °F (−1.2 °C). Winters range from mild to occasional bitter cold, with periods of snow and low temperatures alternating with periods of relatively milder weather, the result of chinook winds. Episodes of 50 °F (10 °C)+ highs alternate with nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows. Snowfall is common throughout the late fall, winter and spring, averaging 53.5 inches (136 cm) for 1981−2010. The average window for measurable (≥0.1 in or 0.25 cm) snow is October 17 thru April 27. Extremes in temperature range from −29 °F (−34 °C) on January 9, 1875 up to 105 °F (41 °C) as recently as June 25 and 26, 2012.
Number 3 Major Cities in the Summertime: San Francisco
Among major U.S. cities, San Francisco has the coldest daily mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures for June, July, and August. During the summer, rising hot air in California's interior valleys creates a low pressure area that draws winds from the North Pacific High through the Golden Gate, which creates the city's characteristic cool winds and fog The fog is less pronounced in eastern neighborhoods and during the late summer and early fall, which is the warmest time of the year.
Continue to keep counting down the ten most chill major cities in the summertime. Number 2 Major Cities: Portland, Oregon
Summers in Portland are warm to hot, dry and relatively sunny with moderately low humidity. The four months of June, July, August and September account for only 4.47 inches (114 mm) of total rain combined -- a small fraction of the 36.03 inches (915 mm) inches of precipitation that falls throughout the year. The warmest month is August with a daily average temperature of 69.5 °F (20.8 °C); normal temperatures peak in late July and early August. Because of its inland location 70 miles from the coast, as well as the protective nature of the Oregon Coast Range to its west, Portland summers are less susceptible to the moderating influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean. Therefore Portland can experience heat waves, particularly in July and August, with air temperatures rising over 90 °F (32 °C) for days at a time. Temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) 14 days per year and reach or exceed 100 °F (38 °C) 1.4 days per year on average. Portland has reached triple digit temperatures in all five months from May through September. The highest temperature ever recorded was 107 °F (42 °C), on July 30, 1965, as well as August 8 and 10, 1981.
Number 1 Major City: Seattle
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Autumn, winter, and spring are frequently characterized by rain. Winters are cool and wet with average lows in the mid 30s °F (1-4 °C) at night, with 28 annual days with lows that reach the freezing mark, and two days where the temperature stays at or below freezing all day; the temperature rarely lowers to 20 °F (−7 °C). Summers are sunny, fairly dry and warm by comparison, with average daytime highs around 75 °F (24 °C), and with temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) on three days per year. The hottest officially recorded temperature was 103 °F (39 °C) on July 29, 2009; the coldest recorded temperature was 0 °F (−18 °C) on January 31, 1950. Eastern suburbs of Seattle, such as Bellevue and Issaquah, are typically even hotter when the temperature soars above 80 °F (27 °C), due to their location closer to downslope winds from the Cascade Mountains and further from Puget Sound. On Seattle's recorded hottest day of July 29, 2009, parts of south Bellevue, Renton, and Issaquah peaked at 110 °F (43 °C).
More from our Things to Do archive: "Photos: Top ten Colorado places to stay cool in a heat wave."