Clearly the chamber of commerce won’t be adding this news nugget to its promotional material.
According to a report out , Kansas City has the most unpredictable weather among the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas.
Oh, there are worse places when it comes to knowing from one day to the next whether to wear shorts or a parka before heading out the door, according this new analysis by the website FiveThirtyEight.com.
And like Kansas City, every single one of them is in the nation’s mid-section, with Rapid City, S.D., topping the list.
But none are even half as populous as Kansas City. Among metro areas with more than one million residents, KC beat out Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and St. Louis for this dubious honor.
The news came as no surprise to Jared Leighton, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill.
“We do have quite a variable variety of weather around here,” he said. “It can deviate from normal in incredible fashion.”
To arrive at their conclusion, statistics geek Nate Silver, formerly of The New York Times, and his co-author, Reuben Fischer-Baum, compared daily weather patterns against long-term averages.
They charted the 20-year averages of 10 weather statistics for 120 different American cities, one in each of the National Weather Service forecast offices in the country.
Those stats fell into three general categories: temperature, precipitation and severe weather.
The goal was to measure volatility, not whether the weather was good or bad.
“In San Diego,” the authors said, “it’s always 72 degrees and sunny. In Seattle, to a first approximation, it’s always 59 degrees and drizzly. Most people like San Diego’s weather better, but both cities have fairly predictable weather patterns.”
The report made no judgments about the weather in KC.
But with 66 being the average on a 100-point scale — the higher the score, the greater the volatility — Kansas City tied with Wichita, Des Moines and Topeka, among others, for an index of 76.
Whereas Honolulu, which had the most predictable weather, came in at 30. San Diego was next at 31, coastal areas having some of the least variation.
As everyone has an opinion on the weather, Twitter was ablaze with people across the nation commenting on how their community ranked.
“Science says that Portland is one of the US cities with the most predictable weather,” Portland, Ore., resident Bart King tweeted. “Our opposite is Kansas City.
However, some found fault with the study’s conclusions. Silver, who made his bones analyzing sports stats and political polls, is not exactly a trained meteorologist.
On the other hand, Jason Samenow is. In a blog post, Samenow, weather editor at The Washington Post quibbled with how FiveThirtyEight characterized its results.
Silver’s study measured how erratic the weather is from place to place, “but it’s not a crystal clear indicator of ‘unpredictability.’ ”
Leighton of the National Weather Service agreed that the new study could have chosen a better word to describe our weather.
Predictability is a matter of weather forecasting tools and skills, not the weather, He said.
“Probably a better word he could have used was variability,” Leighton said.
Hey, six to one, half a dozen of the other, the weather’s clearly a crapshot in Kansas City.
However, it’s not KRAP, which is the airport codename for No. 1 Rapid City on the unpredictability list.
FiveThirtyEight joked about that, too, in it’s report.
Doubt they’re laughing in Rapid City, though, where the skies are clear and highs are expected to stay stable in the 40s and 50s through next Thursday.
To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.