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Old 05-14-2013, 04:16 PM
146 posts, read 169,051 times
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My wife and I currently live in Fort Myers, FL and we're looking to relocate to either the Pacific Northwest or the North Carolina Triangle area. The lack of four seasons and the unrelenting heat and Sun are too much for us.

Here's a very basic wish-list that we're looking for in the place that we move to:

1.) Four Seasons (variation in weather and temperature)
2.) Summers that aren't horrendously hot/humid and winters that aren't freezing/depressing
3.) A well-educated population and a strong job market
4.) Plenty of outdoor beauty and recreation: forests, water, etc.
5.) People who are friendly, and some people who are more progressive

Specific location within the region doesn't matter too much, we can live anywhere and don't have to worry about commutes.

I really like the idea of the Pacific Northwest. I love lush and green landscapes, forests, water, cool weather, thunderstorms, cloudy and rainy days, etc. (It's probably in my blood, being English and German ). My main concern is Seasonal Affective Disorder from the sheer dominance of gray days.

I'm from Cleveland, where the winters are notoriously depressing, and I don't remember ever having a serious problem with the winters (but that's before I knew any different). In Cleveland you can count on gray skies, snow, and dead trees from November through about mid April.

If I could handle Cleveland winters, I'm wondering if I can handle the Pacific Northwest? While I love cool weather, thunderstorms, and rainy/cloudy days (especially living in South Florida), I'm not sure if I'll still be loving it if I have to live with it just about every single day for most of the year.

The alternative is the NC Triangle area, which seems like it has okay weather aside from my main concern: the summers are too hot and humid. Coming from Florida, I don't want to deal with extreme heat and humidity anymore.

Does anyone here have experience with both areas or some insights?

Last edited by Green Guy; 05-14-2013 at 04:33 PM..
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:41 PM
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Please realize thunderstorms are not the norm in the PNW. In fact, PNW receives the least amount of thunder in US. We can go for years before seeing one.

If you can handle the Cleveland gray, then you should be able to handle PNW's gray where instead of snow, you're likely to get more rain and just dampness (very humid in the winter). At least every couple years, PNW gets an El Niño winter, which are just glorious (sunny and dry). Then we get those years where we do have snow... and nobody ever handles it well, hence "snowmaggedon". The city will shut down and even plow service is very iffy; very annoying to deal with.

I'm not familiar with NC Triangle area, but more familiar with Middle TN's weather. I'm assuming there's some similarities between the two. The rain the SE gets are just... buckets upon buckets (whereas PNW is mostly mist, and usually a bit heavier in the winter). Middle TN does get gray in the winter, which surprised me, but it was still very bright and with with sunny breaks. In PNW winter, sun up is around 8ish and sun down is 3:30ish-- very short days; but it makes up in the summer where it's 18 hours sun time. SE area does get thunderstorms-- and a lot of it. The SE does get warm earlier.

The one issue with Seattle is that it never seems to stay warm enough at all, one good day here and there. Late summers still averages around mid seventies and occasionally into the low 80s with a heat wave that lasts less than a week, which isn't really warm enough (the water is very cold year round).
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:58 PM
Location: SF Bay Area (formerly DC and Boston)
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Cleveland barely gets any more sun than Seattle does. It might be a tie with Portland.

Seattle also stays green in the winter. If you can handle Cleveland, the only challenge with Seattle might be the lack of light, especially in December. It's also got much more to do than NC.

That said, the NC climate is hard to beat east of the Rockies.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:19 PM
Location: Washington State
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I've lived in Raleigh, Portland and Seattle. I think that climate in Raleigh is pretty nice and much prefer it to the PNW. However, we don't get that type of snow that you have to shovel every winter in Cleveland and I think the sunshine hours between Cleveland and Seattle are equivalent.

If you can get similar income, I would pick Raleigh over Seattle but in general, I think that will not be the case and Seattle has the added benefit of no state income tax whereas NC is pretty highly taxed.

The summers in PNW are fantastic and there's plenty of places to visit and hike and it's a great place to raise a family.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:53 PM
Location: Seattle, Washington
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From the criteria you listed I think the PNW or Seattle area is best for you. You dont get quite 4 really distinctive seasons but the weather is moderate. We have had an unusually hot spring this year with temperature top hottest in the country in the 90's but thats not the norm. I can tell you the PNW is the most beautiful place in the world on a sunny day. All major cities (except maybe Tacoma) are very well educated and strong and emerging Tech markets. The City on Seattle is nearly boxed in By Large lakes and the Puget sound so Water rec shouldn't be an issue. As most west coast cities, Seattle is very liberal and full of forward thinkers. I have never had trouble meeting anyone in the city but if you do experience some trouble just say "How about those Seahawks?" in you should spark a conversation in no time!
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:29 AM
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Grew up in Raleigh, NC and have lived in Seattle for over a decade ...

You listed the need for four seasons as the number one item, and that is exactly the one thing where Seattle falls short. You might get two-and-a-half seasons up here, but not four. That's the bottom line.

If you can overcome that, then know that Seattle has the rest of your wish list covered with ease. But, there is that weather ...

Since you are in a position where you can live anywhere, you can certainly try Seattle out for a year and see if you like it.

I have heard of people comparing these two areas (the Triangle and Seattle) before, which always strikes me as odd because I see more differences between these areas than similarities. YMMV.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Tall Traveler View Post
If you can get similar income, I would pick Raleigh over Seattle but in general, I think that will not be the case and Seattle has the added benefit of no state income tax whereas NC is pretty highly taxed.
NC has an income tax AND a sales tax, whereas Washington state just has a sales tax.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:49 AM
Location: Los Angeles
5,256 posts, read 12,560,790 times
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When people say Seattle doesn't have 4 seasons, what seasons do they think are missing? I lived there for 13 yrs and that is one of the things I loved about Seattle, after moving there from DC.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:26 AM
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:23 AM
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Please pick the Pacific Northwest. - As a native NC, I have to say you would be better off in the PNW. NC has humidity, not as diverse as the PNW, lacks culture compared to that area as well. Plus there are probably more career opportunities than in Raleigh.
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