Happiness is….a sunbreak!

I’d never even heard of a “sunbreak” until I moved to Oregon some years back but these days a sunbreak truly makes me happy. A sunbreak is that wonderful bit of time in a dreary, grey climate when the clouds momentarily move aside for a bit of sunshine to peek through. Here in the Pacific Northwest, when the grey, rainy weather starts in October and might well drag into July, those little moments of sunshine are big news. We dance about, smash our sun-deprived faces against windows, and take a quick walk around the block without a coat, because the sunshine can disappear that fast.

Just to see how cloudy it is here, I went to the National Climatic Data Center (NOAA) to compare annual climate statistics of three cities I have lived in.

  • West Palm Beach: 75 clear days, 159 partly cloudy days, 131 cloudy days
  • Austin: 115 clear days, 118 partly cloudy days, 136 cloudy days
  • Portland: 68 clear days, 74 partly cloudy days, 222 cloudy days

A dear friend lured me up here but as a geography major I should have done a little more research. I looked at precipitation stats, not cloudy days. Whoops. But all’s well that ends well, because I love it up here!

NCDC chart comparing annual average days per year for select cities


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