AUSTIN (KXAN) — Central Texas is considered part of the U.S. sunbelt, but how much of the time do we see sunshine and how do we compare to other cities in the country?
The most complete accounting for sunshine has been done by the National Climatic Data Center (a division of NOAAs National Centers for Environmental Information) and many places in Texas, including Austin, end up on the top half of the list.
Sunshine is measured by looking at a percentage of potential sunshine. Basically, we look at how much sun was received and compare it to what’s possible. The longer the day, the more sunshine was possible on that day. If you got could get eight hours of sunshine, but it was only sunny for four hours, you observed 50% of possible sunshine.
Out of 173 U.S. cities where sunshine was measured, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Austin’s Camp Mabry ranked 74th and 75th respectively, receiving 60% of possible sunshine on an annual basis.
What about the rest of the state? The country?
Sunniest cities in Texas
- 1. El Paso: 84%
- 2. Midland-Odessa: 74%
- 3. Amarillo: 73%
- 4. Lubbock: 72%
- 5. Abilene: 70%
- 6. Galveston: 62%
- 7. Dallas-Fort Worth: 61%
- 8. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport: 60%
- 9. Austin-Camp Mabry: 60%
- 10. Brownsville: 60%
- 11. Corpus Christi: 60%
- 12. San Antonio: 60%
- 13. Houston: 59%
- 14. Port Arthur: 58%
Sunniest cities in America
- 1. Yuma, Arizona: 90%
- 2. Redding, California: 88%
- 3. Las Vegas, Nevada: 85%
- 4. Phoenix, Arizona: 85%
- 5. Tucson, Arizona: 85%
Cloudiest cities in America
- 1. Juneau, Alaska: 30%
- 2. Quillayute, Washington: 33%
- 3. Mount Washington, New Hampshire: 33%
- 4. Elkins, West Virginia: 40%
- 5. Hilo, Hawaii: 41%
In-Depth: Sunniest part of the year in Central Texas?
According to the National Weather Service office covering Austin and San Antonio, we get roughly 50% of the available sun during the winter and 75% during the summer. Stratus brought in by a south or southeasterly wind is responsible for a lot of our cloudier days, especially during the mornings. While this type of cloud cover can come in at any time of year, it typically lasts for a longer portion of the day during the winter. During the warmer months, the stronger sunshine is more able to “burn” it away giving us more sun.
Full list: Sunniest cities in America
Check out the full list from the NCDC here.