Small towns to weather climate change
There is a new term that has come into use in recent years: climate refugees. These are people relocating across the US for one reason and one reason only, to find a milder climate. With heat waves, floods, droughts, and fires on the rise everywhere, many are specifically looking for places with milder temperatures and lots of rainfall, in hopes that even if the temperature rises and the rainfall decreases in the years to come, these cities will weather the changes better than most.
We have compared every city in the United States with a population between 5000 and 9,999 (about 1750 cities in total) in two ways. First, we look at the total number of days of rainfall and snow. This is a better metric than total rainfall and snow. One hundred days of light rain is far easier for the soil to absorb rather than one day of torrential rainfall. The lighter rain is absorbed into the soil (where we want to be), while the torrential rain is carried off as floodwaters. Second, we look at the number of days of over 90-degree temperatures and over 100-degree temperatures. Of course the lower these numbers, the better.
Here are three cities that perform well in all of these metrics.
Sitka, AK – Population 5,929. For those looking for a lot of days of rain, there is no better place than Sitka, Alaska. Located near the state capital of Juneau, Sitka is unique in that it is spread out over several islands. With 218 days of rain a year, an additional 26 days of snow, and not a single day above 80 degrees, Sitka is the wettest and coolest city anywhere in the United States.
Lincoln City, OR – Population 5,978. Lincoln city has the distinction of being the wettest city in the Continental United States, with 146 days of rain a year. Located 60 miles directly to the west of the state capital of Salem, Lincoln City is considerably warmer than Sitka. You’ll have to brace for the heat with 6 whole days a year above 80 degrees and 1 day above 90. But unlike the other two picks, Lincoln City stays just warm enough to avoid snow.
Jericho, VT – Population 7,652. Rounding out our three is Jericho, Vermont. With 143 days of rain and an additional 66 days of snow, Jericho is ever so slightly dryer than Lincoln City in terms of rainfall. But once you add in all the days of snow, Jericho has many more days with some sort of moisture.
It can be hard to try to figure out where to live or visit in the US. Everyone has a different idea of what the best means. Someone who loves the hike is looking for something different that someone who likes to shop. Someone who likes it cool wants something different than someone who loves the heat.
While weather data is certainly available for any city, what is not available is an easy way to compare cities in terms of environmental and other factors. 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”.
Read about the best small towns or the best small towns for park space as well.