Hey Amazon, these cities trying to woo HQ2 do NOT get 300+ days of sunshine...
SEATTLE -- I get it. Really, I do...
After Amazon announced it was seeking a second city to call home in addition to their home base of Seattle, there was instant competition among much of the rest of North America trying to convince the company to put down their stakes there.
But in a crowded field, some cities have tried to position themselves as not just a geographic alternative, but a meteorological alternative to Seattle's reputation as a gloomy place to live.
Unfortunately, they're fudging the numbers in trying to make their cities seem a lot sunnier than they actually are...
A recent article by the Associated Press noted that three cities in particular (and there could be more) have pitched their city noting nearly daily sunshine.
"We have 300 days of sunshine," says J.J. Ament, chief executive officer of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp, according to the article. "Our skies are bluer and prettier."
Bzzzt. First of all, Perry Como would have a major beef with that statement on the bluest skies. But second of all, official United States Climate Data has a beef with your statement of "300 days of sunshine."
Denver officially averages 120 days with overcast skies. Doing the math, that's actually only 245 days of any kind of sunshine, Denver. But what's two months of overcast "sunny days" among friends?
Next up in the over-inflated sense of sunshine: Austin, Texas.
"It's a very active and easy-going lifestyle, 300 days of sunshine, very pleasant," Mike Berman, a spokesman for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, told the AP.
Strike Two. NOAA's climate database says Austin is overcast 136 days a year on average. That's only 229 days with sunshine or 71 days where Amazon would feel a bit tricked in the weather department.
How about Albuquerque? They upped the ante boasting 310 days of sunshine to Amazon -- and to everyone else; it's on their city's web page.
While you can't deny New Mexico is a pretty sunny state -- it's even on their state flag and most of their license plates -- the official climate data shows Albuquerque with an average of 87 overcast days per year, or 278 days with sunshine. That's almost close enough to say "eh, rounding errors" and those 30 days that you'd end up short would probably be spread out enough that you probably wouldn't miss the 2-3 days a month that ended up surprisingly overcast. But it's not 310!
Heck, if claims of 300 days of sunshine were so important, Amazon could save on travel expenses and expand to Sequim -- which many residents ALSO boast 300 days of sunshine per year (although none of their official pages seem to make this claim anymore.)
News flash, it's an over-exaggeration there too: They come in around 254 days of sun, according to OlympicRainShadow.com.
Can anyone actually boast 300 days of sunshine?
There are a few cities who could actually put that in their Amazon pitch and not really be fibbing. Yuma, Arizona averages 313 days with some sun per year. Phoenix is "close enough to round up" at 295, and parts of Los Angeles are at 292.
As I said in the opening paragraph, I get it. Many of these cities can easily out-sun Seattle's 164 average annual days of sunshine in the city -- a vast majority of those coming over about a four-month period. But I'm going to go out on a limb that sunshine might not be that important of a factor for Amazon considering they knew what they were getting into weather-wise when they chose Seattle in the first place.
But if math is important? Uh oh... Maybe start having that backup plan of how to tweak your city name to add in Amazon -- it's all the rage.
Denvamazon, Colorado, anyone?