Mid-sized towns for those who hate humidity
Just ask anyone in the south, eastern seaboard, or the midwest about humidity. They know what it is. Every meteorologist, and every weather app, along with temperature, will state the relative humidity. As the humidity rises, it will go from feeling comfortable to sticky to downright oppressive. The kind of humidity where you walk outside and start sweating. Cursing the humidity, you crawl back into your air-conditioned home and are thankful for that invention.
What is humidity?
The relative humidity is a poor metric when it comes to measuring how comfortable the air is. The relative humidity is a measure of how much moisture is in the air compared to the maximum amount that the air can hold. Because air can hold more moisture as it heats up, a relative humidity reading that feels uncomfortable gets lower and lower as the temperature increases. A relative humidity of 50% when it is 50 degrees out will be much more comfortable than a relative humidity of 50% when it is 90 degrees out simply because at 90 degrees, the air can hold more moisture.
Since a comfortable relative humidity reading changes as the temperature changes, what we really need is a measure that is temperature-independent. That is where dew point comes in, a far more popular measure for air comfort among weather experts. The dew point is the temperature the air needs to be cooled to in order to achieve a relative humidity of 100% – rain or fog. The higher the dew point, the more moisture is in the air and the more uncomfortable it feels.
This chart shows how dew point affects humans. The sweet spot for us is a dew point between 50 and 54 degrees. This is where we really can’t sense any humidity in the air, but it doesn’t feel dry either. As the dew point increases, it will feel increasingly uncomfortable and once you hit a dew point of 70 degrees, it becomes very uncomfortable. But many aren’t comfortable if the dew point gets too low either. Once you have a dew point down in the 30s, the air will feel very dry to most and can cause discomfort as well.
Top three mid-sized cities with “just right” humidity
So today we are going to profile three mid-sized cities (10,000 to 74,999) right in the middle of the very comfortable zone, with an average dew point in the summer months of exactly 52 degrees.
Dickenson, ND – Population 22,186. You don’t normally think that a city smack dab in the middle of the midwest would make the list for comfortable humidity, but Dickenson, North Dakota earns its spot. Located in the Southwest corner of the state, Dickenson can thank its middle-of-the-road dew point reading to its elevation. At 2,411 feet, it is high enough to avoid the humidity that most of North Dakota feels (Fargo’s reading is 60 degrees) but not so high that the air becomes overly dry. Dickenson is located in the sweet spot for delivering comfortable air in a normally pretty humid location.
Oregon City, OR – Population 35,831. Located at the very southern edge of the Portland Oregon metro area, Oregon City also has an average dew point of 52 degrees. But at an elevation of 141 feet, Oregon City (as does most of the Pacific Northwest) offers comfortable air near sea level.
Nogales, AZ – Population 20,837. Another surprise on this list is Nogales, Arizona as you normally think of Arizona as being exceptionally dry. Nogales is located south of Tuscon on the Mexican border. As you travel south into Mexico it becomes very humid, but once again, elevation comes to the rescue. This far south you have to go a little higher up to find the comfort zone, but at 3829 feet, Nogales hits the sweet spot.
The best place to live for you?
Maybe these three cities sound interesting, but you’re not sure if they will meet all of your wants/desires. That’s why we created the NextDiggs quiz so that you can decide what features are “the best” for you. We profiled every city in America with 5000 or more residents with 61 criteria. You can choose to answer all the questions, or only the ones pertaining to criteria that are important to you. So go ahead and take the quiz and find your own “top 3”.
You also might be interested in good mid-sized towns for water enthusiasts.