Ode to an ‘uncomfortable’ place

If science says Minnesota’s climate stinks, and we all trust science in matters of climate, why is this latest assessment of our fair state so utterly wrong?

This week, Scientific Reports published research assessing the impact of global warming on the number of heating degree days and cooling degree days in sections of the country. Basically each refers to the difference between a day’s temperature and 65 degrees.

It found that San Diego is the nation’s most comfortable city because it has the fewest number of days in which air conditioning is required to cool things off and heat is needed to warm things up, the Washington Post reported.

The most uncomfortable city? It’s us.

At 7 this morning in Phoenix, it’s 91 degrees. They’ll hit a high today of 103. But, as I’ve noted in the past, it’s a dry hell.

Where would you rather be today?

Next January may be another story, and that’s really the story. Minnesota is “uncomfortable” in the study mostly because for few weeks each winter, it’s pretty unbearable around here.

But summer, short as it is, more than makes up for it.

We’ve only seen two 90-degree days this summer, according to local meteorological legend Paul Douglas.

Remember, Minnesota has some of the most extreme swings in temperature and moisture in North America with an average of 30 “life-threatening” days every year – severe lightning, flooding, tornadoes, cold, snow & blizzards. You get the picture.

But let’s give credit where credit is due: this summer has been extraordinary. No treadmill of washed-out weekends, no extended streaks of gasp-worthy heat. The MSP metro has experienced only 2 days of 90-degree plus heat. During an average summer: 13 days of 90s.

The drought is over, another bumper harvest is imminent. It truly has been a summer to remember.

And the reality is: It usually is.

Where would you rather be?

  • MikeB

    It has been a gorgeous summer, impaired by spending too much time at a desk and computer during the day

    • Jack


  • MrE85

    I’ll take this “uncomfortable place” over most others.

  • Brian Simon

    “Where would you rather be?”

    Shhhh… this place is crowded enough already.

  • Jim G

    As a native Minnesotan our weather is what shall I call it…ever-present. It factors into everyday life decisions. On a road trip to the northern Minnesota Brainerd area yesterday the downed trees were testament to the “life threatening” weather we experience. My wife looks at this extreme temperature swing as another reason to get us out of here.

    • kevins

      My spouse of 34 years is originally from San Diego, and about Feb 1 or so each year I get to start hearing “Tell me why we live here…”.

      • Jim G

        Mine was born in Santa Barbara. Now that I ruminate on her California upbringing I was silly, crazy, and deluded to think she’d settle in for very long here in the most uncomfortable big metro area in the country.

        • kevins

          Interesting…must be a Calif. thing…mine refuses to visit Florida…just wouldn’t be proper. I actually like the intensity (not the length) of the winter, and it certainly makes Spring worth appreciating. Fall here, however, is worthy of all praise. Be well.

  • John

    It keeps the riff raff mostly out.

    I like that we have such weather extremes. It gives us something to talk about besides sportsball, politics and religion.

    • kcmarshall

      I use that same “riff raff” line when talking about MN weather with folks from other places. Of course when I say it, I mean the people who flee to the gated communities of western Florida and spend their time counting days in residence for their tax accountants.

      I don’t see any gated communities in my future but my opinion might change when icy sidewalks become too hazardous for brittle, senior bones.

  • Postal Customer

    San Diego truly has the world’s best weather, but I’d miss the rare thunderstorm we get.

  • Brian

    I think it is an interesting consequence of how they measure comfort that there will be a bias against cold places. It can easily be 90 degrees below 65F, but not 90 degrees above. It will take a lot more 100 degree days to balance out a few -30.

    Although this might be how many people actually think… (but not me, I’ll take MN)

  • Kat S.

    Oh, here. Comfortable all the time sounds great for about three months and then horribly boring. I freely admit I have a tough time in years when it hasn’t been quite hot enough to melt me a couple days in the summer and intensely cold a couple days in the winter. A thunderstorm or six, at least one good snowstorm… but I’m one of those apparently perverse people who enjoys winter.

  • X.A. Smith

    One summer does not make a climate.

  • lindblomeagles

    I was born and raised in Chicago, had relatives living in San Francisco, Detroit, and Washington D.C., and have visited those cities, plus several others. I enjoyed San Francisco’s climate the best – cool, cloudy, and sometimes damp. I have heard San Diego’s weather is very comfortable, but I haven’t been there. I don’t find our climate here in Saint Paul all that snowy or cold, at least, not for very long periods of time. The worst weather for me was Washington D.C. Summers there are very hot and very humid.

  • Jeff

    An eagle flew in and sat on a tree in my backyard yesterday. I had three pileated woodpeckers on my feeder also, the mother feeding her young who were almost the same size. The tomatoes are looking pretty good. Eat your heart out San Diego, et al.

  • Kurt O

    Was talking to an intern from KY who’s here for the summer. She described it as “Heaven” compared to what she’s used to.

    I’m not sure she’ll use that word to describe things in February is she gets a permanent position.