New Jersey right in the middle among sunniest states
Weather in the Garden State is constantly changing, and when it comes to how much sun residents see, New Jersey is right in the middle of the pack among the lower 48 states.
State Climatologist Dave Robinson at Rutgers University said the amount of sun in New Jersey also varies according to where you live.
"If you were to look for the least sunny parts of the state, it would be up in the hills and down along the coast," Robinson said, "leaving the central part of the state, down kind of the (Interstate) 95 corridor, as one of the sunnier spots."
We have a sunnier summer than winter, where you have more frequently days that are cloudy throughout the day...There is no particular month, but it would be the warm season (that) has more sun, and that is not just because the days have a longer period of sunshine. It is just that you tend not to have the low-pressure systems come up the coast or across the country that will sock you in with stratus clouds, these low-lying banks of clouds for days on end. That is a rarity. In the summer, it is more of your cumulus clouds, your puffier clouds that can develop into your summer thunderstorms."
Robinson said New Jersey falls somewhere in the middle in terms of sunshine hours, and as such, the state benefits from an abundance of solar power being generated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked 30 years of daily sun data, and the lower 48 states are just now coming out of their peak period for sunshine. The sunniest states are located in the southwest. The CDC indicated Imperial County, Calif., is the sunniest place in the lower 48, and Island County, Wash., is the least sunny.
Arizona is also one example of a very sunny southwest state, according to Robinson.
"I would go to the southwest corner of that state, down around Yuma," he said. "It also happens to be one of the hottest spots in the nation as well. Some other preferred spots would be behind some mountain ranges, such as parts of Nevada and even, say, Death Valley in California -- where the moisture rides up the west side of the mountains and clouds form, but as it spills over to the east side, the air subsides, compresses, and it is very sunny. Very few clouds."
Generally, Robinson said you can expect to see at least some sun on two out of every three days during the year.