The general belief is that most people chase the sun and prefer to live in places like Southern California or Arizona when compared to those famous for being cloudy like Seattle or Portland, Ore. However, several do like cloudy weather, and many of them head to the cloudiest city in the United States, Bellingham, Wash., a place that only experiences sunshine 35 percent of the time.
However, despite this fact, an active community of people live here. The Ski to Sea Race, which is held here every May, is a popular community event that welcomes an international field of competitors who engage in skiing, running, biking, canoeing and kayaking as part of a relay team making its way from nearby Mount Baker to Bellingham Bay. This event is just a sampling of the outdoors activities that are enjoyed by those in Bellingham.
Of course, few would be surprised to learn that the all of the top 15 cloudiest communities of more than 50,000 people are located in Western Washington. Seattle is No. 4 on the list. Between Bellingham and Seattle are Everett and Shoreline, both of which are located fewer than 30 miles north of the Emerald City. The cloudiest city outside of Western Washington, coming in at No. 16 on this list, is Charleston, W.Va.
One climatic advantage that Western Washington has over places like Charleston is how mild the temperatures are in this part of the country. Bellingham’s average high temperatures in July and August are 71 and 72 degrees while its average lows never dip below freezing although they do push right up against the freezing mark with mid-winter lows averaging 32 degrees. Also, the total rainfall isn’t all that much, averaging 36 inches per year, a little more than half of the 67 inches that the rainiest city, Mobile, Ala., receives.