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Old 08-04-2013, 02:56 AM
 
Location: PNW - Greater Seattle Area
50 posts, read 180,724 times
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I live in the Pacific NW and although the last 12-13 months have been the most incredible and beautiful months I think we've EVER had, I know the endless months of gloom, gray, and constant 38 degrees with rain will return yet again.

I've considered northern Colorado for a possible relocation as their 300+ days of sunshine per year seems too good to be true, but it would be very far away from all family. We could manage, but it might be tough for a while. Missoula seems enticing because of the outdoor recreation possibilities and amazing scenery, but I can't seem to find data about average yearly days of sun? I'm not concerned about lots of snow or hot and dry summers. I understand and LOVE diversity in seasons and temperature. Please tell me though that the Missoula area gets at least 200 days of sun a year, or am I way off?
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:40 PM
 
5,894 posts, read 5,474,912 times
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A source I can't link to here publicly says about 160 sunny days. (I'll send to you by private message.)

Medford Oregon gets 195. Would you consider that? Unemployment is higher there than Missoula though. Even worse unemployment in Bend.

Walla Walla WA and Pendleton OR have unemployment rates in between those two towns above and sunny days also number in the 190s. Pocatello ID with 207 sunny days. Definitely not anywhere near Missoula culture-wise but might work for some.

Last edited by NW Crow; 08-15-2013 at 12:50 PM..
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:48 PM
 
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The number of sunny days listed above are mostly sunny days. This data set divides days into mostly sunny, partly cloudy and cloudy with only the mostly sunny days counted as sunny. Sometimes though chambers of commerce, etc. like to combine mostly sunny days with partly cloudy days and brag about more sunny days than these official stats.

The national average for just sunny days per year is 205. The only places that get 300+ days of mostly sunny are in the southwest but not Colorado.

Whether it really makes a difference in how you feel or what you do based on whether the day is mostly sunny instead of partly cloudy is a matter of personal taste I guess. Either is fine by me and I don't mind cloudy days much at all. Precipitation seems like the bigger deal to me.
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Old 10-29-2014, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Wheeling, WV
394 posts, read 1,338,433 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirLancelot911 View Post
I live in the Pacific NW and although the last 12-13 months have been the most incredible and beautiful months I think we've EVER had, I know the endless months of gloom, gray, and constant 38 degrees with rain will return yet again.

I've considered northern Colorado for a possible relocation as their 300+ days of sunshine per year seems too good to be true, but it would be very far away from all family. We could manage, but it might be tough for a while. Missoula seems enticing because of the outdoor recreation possibilities and amazing scenery, but I can't seem to find data about average yearly days of sun? I'm not concerned about lots of snow or hot and dry summers. I understand and LOVE diversity in seasons and temperature. Please tell me though that the Missoula area gets at least 200 days of sun a year, or am I way off?
It's not as bad as a lot of places, but it's not going to be anywhere near as sunny as in Colorado.

I moved there from Pittsburgh, which is rainier than most cities in the US. Missoula was much colder, but much sunnier. It's a trade-off. If you can handle a winter that comes early and sticks around longer than in most places, you'll be rewarded. Summer in Missoula is awesome.
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:27 AM
 
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Out here in my home on the Front Range, the sky is not cloudy all day, except when it is. But it's rarely sunny all day, either. That popular "300 days of sunshine" mantra is misleading, suggesting that we have the climate of Las Vegas or some other desert city. That's certainly not true.

Remember, Denver is located east and downwind of the highest mountains in North America. Typical prevailing winds from the west or northwest have to rise over all that, and that process creates condensation and clouds. So we're on the cloudy side of those mountains. In a typical summertime pattern, the day dawns clear. Clouds will be building by late morning, and the afternoon sees scattered thundershowers marching out of the canyons and out over the plains, where they grow into the huge thunderheads that spin tornadoes across the Plains. Or, if the atmospheric conditions aren't so volatile, it's common for a flat bank of cloud to form right over Denver and sit there all afternoon. Don't come here looking for sunny summer afternoons, or long, colorful sunsets, either-- the western horizon is too tall for that!

Winter is probably sunnier, but few days are cloud-free. It's not unusual to have a consecutive week of overcast and snow, when storm systems get parked in the lee side of the mountains. But the good news for sun-lovers is that even an overcast day may be brighter than what you're used to elsewhere. The intensity of direct sunlight probably exaggerates the duration. There are very few days, even cloudy ones, when I can go outdoors comfortably without sunglasses. Even so, I'm growing a small cataract in one eye, and I keep my dermatologist on speed dial because of the minor skin cancers I'm sprouting. There is a downside to bright, high-altitude sun!

Sometimes I wish I lived on the other side of the Rockies, where sunsets linger and precipitation is more frequent. But then I hear about the smog, ice and inversions of Salt Lake City and think maybe I made the right choice after all.
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Old 01-09-2016, 06:43 PM
 
3 posts, read 21,007 times
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Reviving a thread to add one more question on to SirLancelots original question.

Does anyone know the cloud cover / sunny days of Missoula versus the Willamette Valley in Oregon? I also want to stay somewhere in the PNW because of family but I sure would like more sunny days then say Eugene,OR. We are traveling this summer but there is only so much time you can spend in one spot before you pick something, so knowing how many actual sunny days is great. The info sites only give you so much information, like in Eugene you could literally not see the sun for days or maybe weeks when the fog gets socked into the valley floor but that doesn't translate over well to the yearly information. Does that happen in Missoula, where you don't see the sun for days/weeks? We've always lived in the Willamette Valley, so when people say it's cloudy or overcast, it's hard to know what that means since we don't have anything else to compare it too.
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:05 PM
 
Location: New Meadows, ID
121 posts, read 180,682 times
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Unfortunately, I believe Missoula is about the same as Eugene as far as sunny days.. both are in the 155-160 range. And yes, when you see those kind of numbers, we're talking A LOT of gray, and for long periods of time.

Although I live in the Flathead Valley (Kalispell/Whitefish), I know Missoula gets a lot of gray as well. They also get the nasty inversions common in the valleys around the region. Pretty much all the valleys/lower elevations across Columbia River Basin you can expect this type of weather from roughly mid November to March. I will say, Missoula can also get some nasty air in the summer, too when regional forest fires kick up... I mean, we all can, but again, the Missoula/Bitterroot/Flathead Valley's tend to get stagnant air more often. Last year was horrible.


If you are willing to go a little further east, Bozeman gets about 190 days of sun, and while it can still be gray for periods of time, they get less inversions since it's higher elevation and a bit colder.
Overall, you generally need to get south 100 miles or more of I-90 and/or east of I-15 to get out of the relentless gray. This is largely due to the sun angle, and getting out of the "bowl" of the Columbia River Basin.

I feel your pain. We love Montana. We've tried 2 winters and just can't handle the relentless gray. (We also lived near Leavenworth WA for a year... same thing in winter).... I don't mind snow or cold at all (I snowboard), but the weeks on end of gray suck. You might as well be in Midwest as you can't even see the mountains most of the time... which is part of the reason many of us live here. I'm pretty sure we are headed to Colorado this year. Most areas of CO see over 250 sunny days, but still plenty of snow. (I also lived there for a year in the late 1990's).

Last edited by snowave; 01-10-2016 at 12:14 PM..
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Old 01-10-2016, 02:09 PM
 
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Thanks Snowave, that's the exact information I was after.

We are the same (we ski). I feel like if we are moving, I want to be out of this constant gray. I didn't realize Leavenworth/Wentachee area was the same.

I love the mountains and trees, I'm not a huge fan of Bend (and really it's not that sunny).

Colorado is lower on the list, only because it's so far away from our family, but maybe we need to re-consider if sunny days is high on our personal list. Can I ask what areas you are looking at in Colorado? We would like to stay with a town the size of Missoula. We aren't tied to a job (we only need internet, cell phone, and airport access).
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Old 01-10-2016, 11:26 PM
 
Location: New Meadows, ID
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yes, Leavenworth/Wenatchee are in the same "bowl" as the rest of the Pacific NW ... winter time is muck city. Sometimes when you get the straight up inversions, you can get above it at the ski areas... but here in Whitefish, the mountain is shrouded in fog more often than not. While it preserves the snow conditions, it kinda ruins the whole thing when you can't see the snow at your feet... so it's a wash for me.

Bend is nice, but it's just not a fit for us either. They do get more sun than where you are, but not as much as people think.


The place we are looking for are small compared to you. We like towns under 5,000. We are considering Pagosa Springs in Colorado. It's been on our list for a while, and we visited last year. It's a small town and in the very far SW part of the state. We also lived in Teton Valley (Idaho side of the Tetons) for a year and really liked that, too. More sun there as well, but also a small town. My wife and I work from home, so we are lucky in that we can choose where to live to a large degree. She also needs to be within an hour or so of an airport for work travel occasionally.

Have you ever been to Boise? I know it's much bigger city than a Missoula, etc.., but we found it to have a smaller town feel and quite nice for a city of it's size. It's not a mountain town per se, but the mountains are just east and north of town, and there's some decent skiing at Bogus Basin about 50 min away. I'm not sure of any other mountain towns of 25-50k in the region THAT get a decent amount of sun.

todd

p.s. In addition to finding a "perfect" place to live with all of of priorities, I'm also a weather forecaster, so that's one reason I'm pretty geeky with this stuff.
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Old 01-11-2016, 03:23 PM
 
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We are very similar! We also work from home, it's my husband that needs the airport for work travel. The reason I wanted a town Missoula's size is because when my husband travels, I don't want to be too isolated with the one remaining kiddo we have at home. I want some opportunities for her to take private lessons somewhere and for us to be able to get out and about when it's just the two of us for stretches at a time.

Love that you are a weather forecaster too! We will keep up our search. After I saw your post, I'm starting to wonder if we should spend some more time traveling in an RV until we find "our" spot. I haven't researched data plans yet to make that possible. We already had decided to homeschool next year, so maybe I'm trying too hard to find a spot so fast.

We did visit Boise but the sprawl seemed horrible there. I don't necessarily like large towns, I just don't want to be too isolated.

You have been really helpful Todd!!!
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