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Hi, I'm new to this board. I'd like to try an experiment if I may.

I do live in the Midwest (Michigan) but the weather here has not been deadly, just really really bad. Floods and such.

But the reason I write this post, is because of the uncanny cloudiness experienced here in Michigan. I've looked on the web repeatedly to try to find "cloudiest state" and "cloudiest city" etc. But there's usually little more than blurbs written on the subject. And when "percentage of sunshine" figures are found, I just don't believe them.

It is probably impossible for me to convey to you, how cloudy it is in the little city of 5,000 that I live in. You probably won't believe me. Figures for the area in general, Grand Rapids, often say we have about 30% sunshine. Which is depressing sounding enough. But it's a lie. (Well, I don't live in GR but within 20 miles of it).

If we had 30% sunshine in the winter, 60% in the summer.


Even at it's worst, according to climatology reports, we'd have 3 sunny days out of ten. Or at least only 70% cloud cover, all the time.

But I am at wits end, depressed eternally here, as every single it again...every single day is 100% cloud cover here.

Every day...wake up...100% cloud cover.

Occasionally, maybe one day in ten, it's partly sunny. Then it turns 100% cloudy. Do you know how depressing it is to wake up to dark, at 7 in the morning, and often the day just gets darker from there?

This has been the worse year I've ever seen in my 15 years on Michigan, for clouds. Last summer, we did have about 50/50 cloudy-sunny each day (even on sunny days, it's never completely sunny). In 15 years here, I've never seen a cloudless day.

Usually, the sun goes away in about late September and the day-after-day of cloudiness begins and lasts until about May. Then from about May to June, it's rainy and about 60% clouds. But even and often on those 40% sunny days, it may only be sunny for a few hours, then the sky turns completely gray again for the next 10 hours of the day.

It's not clouds like you think of clouds either. The cloud cover is usually so uniform and thick, that there are no distinctions of "clouds" per se. Just a gray to dark gray sky, from horizon to horizon. It's so common here that the other day, a friend of mine said "well, at least it's sunny out" after someone commented about how cold it was for May. It was at a softball game and about 20 people all looked at him like he was nuts. He looked around, and said, "oh, well I guess it is cloudy. It's so uniform though, that it almost looks like a blue sky."

Blue-gray, that is. See, often at best here, the clouds are a lighter shade of gray on some days and people literally consider that as "sunny."

It screws you up so bad, that more than once at night time when for maybe the first time in two months you could see some stars out, I've caught myself saying..."Finally, it's a sunny out." At night.

I know that it's making me very seasonally depressed, nearly year-round. But real estate and educational obligations will keep me here for another 6 years, minimum.

Imagine if you will, living where you are and the sun comes out on most days, like normal. But that you are forced to wear a blanket or box over your head so that you are denied the sunshine, every single day. How would that make you feel? Maybe you can understand how the weather in Michigan is so depressing.

I've read stories about how people move to Florida, and then say they never realized how depressed they were until they got out of the state. It's not just the clouds, but people here suck big time. Competition makes us very edgy. If you wave to someone coming down the road the opposite direction of you, they are very prone to turning around and following you, trying to get you to pull over, or acting like they are pulling a gun out from under their dash. People, I kid you NOT. They will have thought you flipped them the bird, since people here are NOT friendly like they are down south. Oh, of course, if you turn on some charm face-to-face, they can be as nice as anyone, anywhere. But in general, they are on the lookout for a battle, and to be defensive. That probably has alot to do with the stress of the weather, but also the industrial belt.

Recently we went on Spring break to Kentucky. Oh my gosh, it was sunny and beautiful. Trees were budding in March! It was in the 70's and 80's every day! We got suntans the first day! Then a family emergency caused us to have to go back to Michigan, halfway through our trip. I cut across Indiana and entered Michigan direclty South of Ann Arbor. I kid you not when I tell you that within 1 minute of crossing the border into Michigan, it went from being 100% sunshine, to 100% cloud cover. And it has been that way ever since (yes, since March. But not just since March, but since last September!).

The sun does peek out, sometimes. But if I said we had 10% of available sunshine, I honestly believe I would be exaggerating. If I said we had 5% sunshine, that would probably be more like it.

And so this long post is really the beginning of an experiment in which I'd like to make a post-per-day, giving just a short update on the cloudiness of the world outside my window. With Summer arriving soon, this would normally be a poor time to try to demonstrate the lack of sun, since the "sunny" season should be upon us. But this year is darker than any other I've seen so far.

I can't tell you how badly I want to move.

Monday, May 31st, 2004;

100% Cloudy. No distinction in cloud edges...uniformly gray from horizon to horizon. Been raining daily now for approximately 30 days.

Paul T.

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