US Chill Cities List Surprises
July 19, 2013

US ‘Chill’ Summer Cities List Has Some Surprises

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

With the southern half of the country firmly gripped in sweltering heat by the middle of June, Americans tend to think of New England shores or the scenic views of the Pacific Northwest as ideal summer destinations. However, a new list has placed some less obvious cities such as Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, NY in the top ten "chill" summer cities in the US.

According to Sperling's BestPlaces, the company that created the list, many similar lists omit nighttime lows from their analysis.

"Our analysis is unique in that it includes the average nighttime low temperature," Sperling, president of Sperling's BestPlaces wrote on his company blog. "Some places, especially those at high altitude, may have daytime high temperatures in the 80's, but then drop into the 40's at night, providing a welcome relief to the summer heat."

While a number of already popular choices like Portland and Denver made it near the top of the list, several less obvious Great Lakes cities like Detroit and Cleveland ranked in the top 15 as well.

"Anything east of the Rockies I'm surprised about," Sperling, president of Sperling's BestPlaces and founder of Money Magazine's annual list of Best Places to Live, told National Geographic.

"Thanks to the barrier of the Rocky Mountains, the West is almost immune to the stifling humidity of the Midwest and Eastern United States," Sperling's blog said.

Paul Stokols, a meteorologist with the US National Weather Service, told National Geographic that humidity plays a big role in how pleasant cities can be in the summer.

"When your perspiration evaporates, it cools you down," Stokols explained. "The higher the humidity, the longer it takes to evaporate the moisture on your skin, and the longer it takes to cool down."

The meteorologist warned that continuous heat can drain a person's energy and even lead to heat stroke.

"It's a kind of silent hazard. It doesn't hit you in the face - it just slowly wears you out," he said.

"Every city in the U.S. is going to have uncomfortable, sticky weather at times," Sperling said. "But your chances of having a nice summer are much, much greater in these cities [on the list]."

Given the heat waves of the past two weeks, some people reacted incredulously to news of their city being ranked high on the list of chill cities.

"Today it's 94 and this whole week has been in the mid-90s," said Alexa Bolock, a third-year undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh. "When I get to the bus, I don't know if I'm sweating or if it's the humidity."

Jim Wilson, a 29-year-old former Buffalo resident and current Bostonian, said he wasn't surprised to his old city ranked near the top of the list as the summer brings out the best in western New York.

"I do miss the community feel of the city in the summertime," Wilson told "Everyone and their brother is outside doing something - mowing a lawn, reading a book, drinking on the stoop. It's really the only time of year where Buffalo's assets are shown and it feels like the community uses it to their full advantage."