#1! #1! #1!

In this list of every state, ranked by how miserable its winters are, guess who the winner is!

Although I’m suspicious that we beat both Dakotas. I think I’d rather live in Minnesota than either of those places.

I came up with a balancing idea, though: if you suffer through winter in your state, you get to reward yourself by retiring to the complementary state on the list — just look at (51 – your state ranking). That’s the karmic redress you must someday pay. I’m looking forward to my twilight years in Hawaii; Hawaiians might not be as thrilled with the deal they’re getting.


  1. Sunday Afternoon says

    I’m in Silicon Valley where we did have a significant period of overnight frost back in December/January…

    The companies I have worked for also have operations around Minneapolis. There is a observable increase in the number of visitors from MN in February.

  2. says

    Eh, 20 years ago, I would have had plenty to say about N Dakota winters, they were bloody brutal. Now? Not so much. Very little snow for some years now (more rain though), and only a week or two of serious below zero cold. Right now, it’s 32 F, supposed to hit 43 F. And it is February. Oh, and SD is always degrees warmer than ND.

  3. Andrew Watts says

    It’s kind of a silly ranking, because as they note for both my home state (Ohio) and where I’ve lived for the last decade (New York), the winter is vastly different depending where you are in the state. Up by the Great Lakes, you’re generally getting pounded by snow (although this year we in Rochester are only at 48″. On the other hand 19″ of that happened in one day last week.). Further south in both states and the winters are generally pretty mild.

    Also, they largely aren’t taking percentage of sunny days into account, which matters to a lot of people with seasonal depression. Where my wife’s family lives on SE Minnesota along the Mississippi River, it’s brutally cold but there’s at least sun most days. Central Ohio and Western New York are both pretty gloomy all winter.

  4. says

    Yay, we Californians get to retire in Alaska! I guess I’ll have to trade in my sunglasses for some Re-Timer light glasses and the surfboard for a mushing sled.

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The #2 Michigan summary had the snow/cloud coverage from Dah YooPee, with the driving conditions downstate.
    The YooPee has the Copper Country (Keweenaw Peninsula) , where lake effect snow from Lake Superior dumps an average of 220 inches of snow, the highest average snowfall east of the Mississippi River. While the lake giveth snow, it does moderate the cold a bit, so PZ has colder temperatures.

  6. dianne says

    I’d rather live in Minnesota than most states, winters or no. Heck, I deliberately went to Minnesota in the middle of winter one year and camped out. In -30 degree* weather. And then did it again the next year.

    *At that temp it doesn’t matter whether I meant C or F.

  7. tbp1 says

    I went to college in Michigan after growing up in the Texas Panhandle, where it’s pretty sunny year round. I was at least somewhat prepared for the fact that it was going to be colder than I was used to (my parents sent along some extra money that first year for winter clothes, for example), but I was utterly unprepared for the cloudiness that went on for weeks on end—not even a glimpse of sun, moon or stars. That was MUCH harder for me than the cold. I’m not sure the term was invented yet, but I think I had mild seasonal affective disorder much of each winter.

  8. says

    Well, sure if you want to trade a bearable winter for a miserable humidity that will make life hell until your horrifying death by volcanic ash and fiery lava…

  9. Rich Woods says

    @tbp1 #8:

    I was utterly unprepared for the cloudiness that went on for weeks on end—not even a glimpse of sun, moon or stars

    Top tip: Don’t move to the UK. We’re just about to move into the overcast and rainy season, which lasts for nine months and is broken only by 4-6 weeks in July/August if we’re really lucky.

  10. John Harshman says

    Silly. The only way they move Alaska away from #1, as any rational person ought to expect, is by changing the rules for that state alone.

  11. blf says

    Rich Woods‘s advice at @13 reminds of similar advice for Chicago: Don’t. Just don’t. It’s only reasonable at two times in a year, once in the springtime when conditions change from fecking freezing cold to horrible humid broiling, and then once in the fall when conditions change back.

    Both moments last about a second.

  12. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    As a temporary resident of CA (SF Bay Area), I found the CA winters pretty miserable. In that they don’t actually have winter. The temperature drops to 60F (!) and all the natives bundle up in down parkas. This MA boy, would put a shirt over my T-shirt, to cope with the supposed “cold” weather (‘cold’ in local parlance only). A few years of faux-Winter essentially forced me back to MA to enjoy actual winter rather than CA’s. Of course, upon returning, I got welcomed by one of NE’s heaviest snowfall seasons. Yet, still enjoyed it more than faux-Winter.
    The problem with FLA winter is not the native Floridians, but the influx of “snowbirds” trying to escape the actual winter.

  13. khms says

    If we’re talking winter and climate change, we were just warned that with I think a single exception, Germany’s winter sports regions should stop investing in winter sports and start investing in other stuff, because getting enough snow to be a reasonable proposition is going to be increasingly iffy. I got the impression that artificial snow isn’t going to cut it, either.

    On my last vacations in the Austrian alps, I could see (somewhere above the 2500 m line) the snow hills those regions have started to build up at the end of their snow season (carefully covered with white plastic) so they’ll have at least some snow to start the next season with.

  14. Artor says

    “Top tip: Don’t move to the UK. We’re just about to move into the overcast and rainy season, which lasts for nine months and is broken only by 4-6 weeks in July/August if we’re really lucky.”

    Whine, whine, whine. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!

  15. futurechemist says

    Having lived in both Buffalo and Seattle, I can say this ranking makes no sense to me. 8 feet of snow in a winter vs some rain? A full month where the temperature didn’t rise above 0C vs a winter where the temperature went below 0C once? I think I know which one I’d pick…

    I write this from Seattle where the song lyric “The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle” is fairly accurate at the moment.

  16. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    I’ve longed dreamed about moving back to MA, but it turns out that if we did we’d have to retire to Alabama. Blech.

    As it is, we’ll have to retire to Connecticut. Not quite MA, but close enough.

  17. Dutchgirl says

    On a more serious note, many elderly people who have lived all or most of their lives in Hawai’i are forced to move to the mainland because costs are so high here, esp long term care.

  18. Onamission5 says

    I’m surprised where Oregon’s winters were ranked, seeing as I come from a part of the state where “it’s the climate” is an actual town motto. Weird for me that OR’s winters @17 are ranked worse than NC’s @28. Of course I live in those storm-stopping NC mountains they were talking about so we probably do see more craptastic winter weather than most of the state.

  19. magistramarla says

    Nope! Sorry! I’ve put up with the misery that is south Texas for long enough.
    I grew up in Illinois. I’ve also lived in Missouri, Oklahoma (Blech!), Ohio and California.
    The husband and I absolutely can’t wait to retire to California (Monterey Bay area).
    That is truly paradise on earth.

  20. johnmarley says

    The author must have only ever spent time in the Yellowstone/Jackson area, which is just the northwest corner of Wyoming. Spend a couple of winters in the southern part of the state. Anywhere along the I-80 corridor. Nothing pretty about winters here. And the author can blow those Chinook winds where the sun doesn’t shine. The wind in this part of the state is 1) cold, 2) strong, and 3) damn near constant.

  21. Knabb says

    How Colorado got 47th is beyond me, but the plan involving retiring to Alaska is just added cruelty. This is particularly true for areas near the border, as adjacent Wyoming somehow managed 12th.

  22. Ice Swimmer says

    Now, which would be worse? More snow or more Republicans?

    I think the worst kinds of snowy winter conditions are wet snow and sleet or below -15 degrees Celcius or huge snowfall in short period of time. Moderate amounts of snow (20 – 50 cm if it doesn’t come during one day) and -5 to -10 degrees isn’t too bad, you’ll have dry feet, your face won’t freeze and the snow makes the daylight brighter.

    Lately there have been some shitty winters in the south coast of Finland, with no snow in December which means low light levels in the day time (6.5 hours daylight during which even a short person casts a long shadow), and then some snowfall after New Year quickly turning into sleet and ice. Some other winters have been… …different, being borderline continental or maritime, arctic or temperate makes for some variation. At least we don’t get meters of snow or hurricanes here.

  23. sherylyoung says

    I live in Colorado in the high rockies. I LOVE IT HERE! I’ve lived in Ohio, upstate NY, Mississippi and Germany. Colorado is far and away the best place to live weather wise. My only complaint is it should get and stay colder at night in the Winter. (Snow-dancing is a given)

  24. andyb says

    A Minnesota state climatologist came up with a “Winter Misery Index” that tries to quantify the quality of our Minnesota winters from year to year – higher points for more snow and colder temps. (Seems like this is most appropriate for deer rather than people). There’s quite the range in winter quality across Minnesota. The secret to a winter you can enjoy is temps that stay below zero. Winter without snow and skating rinks is no fun at all.

    Canada has a “Climate Severity Index” – which accounts for many factors. There is also a “Winter Severity Index” – maps are readily available online.

  25. tbp1 says

    @#13: My wife and I lived in London for the latter half of 2009. Based on that one experience I would have to say that Michigan was worse, at least in part because it got much colder much sooner in the fall, in addition to the constant cloud cover. But yes, we certainly encountered a certain number of foggy days in London Town (and Edinburgh, and Cardiff, and the Lake District…)

  26. qwerty says

    As a native Minnesotan I am convinced the authors of this piece are Minnesotans. Who else would know about Grain Belt and Juicy Lucys? They need to confess their bias and tell us that they wanted our state to be number one for once.

  27. Onamission5 says

    @microraptor #28: Yup! That’s where I was born, spent my childhood and most of my adult life in various places across Jackson and Josephine counties. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place, but could stand some serious improvement in the economic and social sectors. I have a fondness for the area because it’s what shaped me but it’s a conflicted fondness for sure.

    @nahuati #37: Thanks. We’re fine in my area. Lost a tree out back somewhere, heard it snap with a gust of wind but didn’t see where it fell. A few big trees down around town was all. Central regions got hit the worst. It’s early in the season for that many tornado warnings, which doesn’t bode well for when spring arrives for real rather than a little warm spell.

  28. microraptor says


    I’d like Grants Pass better if the place wasn’t such a Tea Party bastion.

    Also if there were fewer mountains between there and Roseburg- that is not a fun drive.