Yesterday we saw an odd phenomenon in Columbus: the sun was out, the sky was a brilliant blue, and there were actually shadows on the ground.
If you think that’s not a big deal, that’s because you haven’t spent a winter in Columbus. Columbus is one of the cloudiest cities in the United States during the core winter months of December, January, and February. According to statistics compiled by the National Climatic Data Center, Columbus experiences dense cloud cover on 67 percent of the days during those three months. That puts Columbus 7th on a dubious national list of the cloudiest major cities in the country during the winter. (Portland, Seattle, and Buffalo are the top three.)
And I’m not sure that the 67 percent figures really captures the bleakness of a Columbus winter, either. The NCDC “dense cloud” standard purports to measure the grey (or in some cases, white) winter days when more than three-quarters of the sky is covered in cloud. That doesn’t mean that the other 33 percent of Columbus days feature bright sunshine, it just means that they don’t quite reach the required three-quarter cloud cover standard. So, they might be two-thirds cloud cover, or half cloud cover. A day where the sky is a bright blue, like yesterday, is as rare as hen’s teeth.
Columbus is not a place where you’d choose to spend the winter if you’ve got Seasonal Affective Disorder — but it you have to be here, regardless, you relish the non-SAD days, and you try to remember that the spring, summer, and fall days will restore your spirits.