Weather Extremes: Sunniest, Rainiest, Coldest and Hottest Cities in the U.S.

Everyone likes to talk about the weather. In January, things got pretty chilly in the Midwest when a polar vortex sent temperatures plunging to 21 below zero, with wind chills as cold as 50 below zero. Eau Claire, Wis. had so much snow in February that a new record was set for the all-time snowiest month with 53.7 inches, and Rhinelander, Wis. had 61.5 inches, according to the National Weather Service. 

People also like to complain about the weather. When it rains, we want the sun, when the sun comes out, it's too hot. So where do folks get dibs on complaining the most?

Which cities are hottest or coldest? Who really gets the most snow? And where can you soak up the most sun?

Based on summaries from CurrentResults.com, which uses data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, these are the sunniest, wettest, coldest and hottest cities in the U.S.

The Sunniest Cities: Phoenix
The Sunniest Cities: Phoenix

The sunniest cities have the most average annual sunshine. Percent of sunshine is the time that the sun reaches the earth's surface, between sunrise and sunset. Clear days refers to the number days a year when clouds cover less than one-third of the sky on average.

1. Phoenix

  • Percent of sunshine: 85%
  • Hours of sun annually: 3,872
  • Clear days annually: 211

Photo: KateK89 / Shutterstock

2. Las Vegas
2. Las Vegas

2. Las Vegas

  • Percent of sunshine: 85%
  • Hours of sun annually: 3,825
  • Clear days annually: 210

Photo: Rob Wilson / Shutterstock

3. Sacramento, Calif.
3. Sacramento, Calif.

3. Sacramento, Calif.

  • Percent of sunshine: 78%
  • Hours of sun annually: 3,608
  • Clear days annually: 188

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Los Angeles
4. Los Angeles

4. Los Angeles

  • Percent of sunshine: 73%
  • Hours of sun annually: N/A
  • Clear days annually: 147

Photo: Bokic Bojan / Shutterstock

5. Miami
5. Miami

5. Miami

  • Percent of sunshine: 70%
  • Hours of sun annually: 3,154
  • Clear days annually: 74

Photo: pisaphotography / Shutterstock

6. Denver
6. Denver

6. Denver

  • Percent of sunshine: 69%
  • Hours of sun annually: 3,107
  • Clear days annually: 115

Photo: Sean Xu / Shutterstock

7. Oklahoma City
7. Oklahoma City

7. Oklahoma City

  • Percent of sunshine: 68%
  • Hours of sun annually: 3,089
  • Clear days annually: 139

Photo: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

8. San Diego
8. San Diego

8. San Diego

  • Percent of sunshine: 68%
  • Hours of sun annually: 3,055
  • Clear days annually: 146

Photo: Shutterstock

9. Salt Lake City
9. Salt Lake City

9. Salt Lake City

  • Percent of sunshine: 66%
  • Hours of sun annually: 3,029
  • Clear days annually: 125

Photo: Shutterstock

10. San Francisco
10. San Francisco

10. San Francisco

  • Percent of sunshine: 66%
  • Hours of sun annually: N/A
  • Clear days annually: 160

Photo: Hayk_Shalunts / Shutterstock

11. Tampa, Fla.
11. Tampa, Fla.

11. Tampa, Fla.

  • Percent of sunshine: 66%
  • Hours of sun annually: 2,927
  • Clear days annually: 101

Photo: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock

Most Precipitation: Buffalo, N.Y.
Most Precipitation: Buffalo, N.Y.

These are the wettest U.S. cities, based on annual averages for total precipitation. That's not just rain, of course, it's snow, sleet and hail, too. The annual precipitation totals are averages based on data from 1981 - 2010 from NOAA.

1. Buffalo, N.Y.

  • Average days of precipitation: 167
  • Annual inches: 40.5
  • Annual mm: 1,028

Photo: Paolo Costa / Shutterstock

2. Cleveland
2. Cleveland

2. Cleveland

  • Average days of precipitation: 155
  • Annual inches: 39.1
  • Annual mm: 994

Photo: Shutterstock

3. Cincinnati
3. Cincinnati

3. Cincinnati

  • Average days of precipitation: 137
  • Annual inches: 41.9
  • Annual mm: 1,065

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Boston
4. Boston

4. Boston

  • Average days of precipitation: 126
  • Annual inches: 43.8
  • Annual mm: 1,112

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Chicago
5. Chicago

5. Chicago

  • Average days of precipitation: 124
  • Annual inches: 36.9
  • Annual mm: 937

Photo: MarynaG / Shutterstock

6. Birmingham, Ala.
6. Birmingham, Ala.

6. Birmingham, Ala.

  • Average days of precipitation: 117
  • Annual inches: 53.7
  • Annual mm: 1,364

Photo: Shutterstock

7. Baltimore
7. Baltimore

7. Baltimore

  • Average days of precipitation: 116
  • Annual inches: 41.9
  • Annual mm: 1,064

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Atlanta
8. Atlanta

8. Atlanta

  • Average days of precipitation: 113
  • Annual inches: 49.7
  • Annual mm: 1,263

Above, dancers brave heavy rain during a 2018 Christmas parade in Atlanta.

Photo: Lee Reese / Shutterstock

9. Charlotte, N.C.
9. Charlotte, N.C.

9. Charlotte, N.C.

  • Average days of precipitation: 110
  • Annual inches: 41.6
  • Annual mm: 1,057

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Austin, Texas
10. Austin, Texas

10. Austin, Texas

  • Average days of precipitation: 88
  • Annual inches: 34.2
  • Annual mm: 870

Photo: Shutterstock

Coldest Cities: Minneapolis
Coldest Cities: Minneapolis

These are the coldest cities in the U.S., based on the number of days that the temperature usually drops to zero Fahrenheit (-18 C) or below each year.

1. Minneapolis

  • Days of zero F. or below a year: 23

Pictured is the frozen Minnehaha Falls near Minneapolis. According to the Star-Tribune, winter visitors ignore "no trespassing" signs and barricades in the park to snap selfies at the frozen but dangerous waterfall.

Photo: Shutterstock

2. Chicago, Denver and Milwaukee (tie)
2. Chicago, Denver and Milwaukee (tie)

2. Chicago, Denver and Milwaukee (tie)

  • Days of zero F or below a year: 7

Above, ice fishing in the Milwaukee marina in February 2019.

Photo: Tony Savino / Shutterstock

3. Detroit, Indianapolis and Rochester, N.Y. (tie)
3. Detroit, Indianapolis and Rochester, N.Y. (tie)

3. Detroit, Indianapolis and Rochester, N.Y. (tie)

  • Days of zero F or below a year: 4

Above, ice forms on the Detroit River.

 Photo: Shutterstock

4. Buffalo, N.Y., Cleveland and Hartford, Conn. (tie)
4. Buffalo, N.Y., Cleveland and Hartford, Conn. (tie)

4. Buffalo, N.Y., Cleveland and Hartford, Conn. (tie)

  • Days of zero F or below a year: 3

Above, cyclists brave the snow at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford Conn., in January 2017.

Photo: Rena Schild / Shutterstock

Hottest Cities: Phoenix
Hottest Cities: Phoenix

Hottest Cities: These U.S. cities have the most days with a temperature reaching 100 F (37.8 C) or higher.

1. Phoenix

  • Days a year above 99 F: 107

Photo: iStock

2. Las Vegas
2. Las Vegas

2. Las Vegas

  • Days a year above 99 F: 70

Photo: Shutterstock

3. Riverside, Calif.
3. Riverside, Calif.

3. Riverside, Calif.

  • Days a year above 99 F: 24

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Dallas
4. Dallas

4. Dallas

  • Days a year above 99 F: 17

Above, people cool off in a fountain at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas.

Photo: Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock

5. Austin, Texas
5. Austin, Texas

5. Austin, Texas

  • Days a year above 99 F: 16

Photo: Shutterstock

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