Not Your Imagination: Philly Really Is One of the Dreariest Big Cities in the U.S.

Read the report that says city's dreariness index score is 23 out of a maximum 30. Or, just look outside.


Meteorologist Brian Brettschneider has created a “dreariness index” based on an area’s annual precipitation, number of days with precipitation, and cloud coverage. Philadelphia’s index score? Twenty-three out of a maximum score of 30.

Of the country’s 73 biggest cities, only 15 locations are as dreary or more dreary than us.

Before you get mad (or sad) about Philly’s crummy weather, Brettschneider admits his methodology is imperfect:

This is right about the time where people in the Northeast are getting defensive. How can Buffalo be as dreary as Seattle or how can Pittsburgh be as dreary as Portland? Of course this methodology is completely arbitrary and far from perfect, but it is a start. Also keep in mind that neither temperature, wind, nor solar energy were used in the calculation. In my mind, a dreary day is wet and gray—therefore, this analysis only used variables that reflect those characteristics.

Cities such as Seattle, Pittsburgh and Portland are drearier than Philly, according to Brettschneider. Baltimore and Chicago are less so.

Where’s the least dreary big city in America? Las Vegas and Phoenix were among the locales with the lowest dreariness index scores, Brettschneider said.