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U.S. Cities Barometric Pressure Variation, Full List

In a previous article, Avoiding Migraines Resulting from Changes in Barometric Pressure, we used pressure-induced migraines as an example of why a clinician might choose to relocate from their client base, and therefore need a videoconferencing service to continue meeting with patients. As part of the example, we shared lists of US cities with the least and most barometric variation. Due to requests, we are posting in full the dataset we created.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and am in no way qualified to give medical advice. I organized this data for myself and for the benefit of those who believe that living in a place with less barometric variation could be good for their health, so that they could see which cities have more or less barometric variation.)

Update: in March 2016 I published a Global List of Barometric Variation

U.S. Cities Proportion of Days, May 2007 to May 2013, with .20 or greater change in Barometric Pressure from the previous day

Continue reading “U.S. Cities Barometric Pressure Variation, Full List” »

Avoiding Migraines Resulting from Changes in Barometric Pressure

So…what do Migraine Headaches induced by Barometric Pressure have to do with SecureVideo.com? A lot, if you’re a clinician who suffers from these nasty pressure-induced Migraines, and you’re considering relocating away from your client base.

I was recently talking to one of our new clinicians, and we discovered that we both happen to suffer from pressure-induced Migraines.  When she told me she lived in Redding, California, which has among the higher atmospheric pressure variations in California, I asked if she had ever considered moving to San Diego, one of the major U.S. cities with the most stable atmospheric pressure.  She told me that indeed she had, and that her hope was that SecureVideo.com could help her transition her practice from her office in Redding, to a virtual practice based in San Diego, where she could see anyone within the State of California, and be free of the migraines that cost her so many days of work and so much misery.

Since I’m here to help, and the internet contains a very high ratio of raw to processed barometric pressure information, I decided to compile some lists for her (and me) on best and worst U.S. cities and states for atmospheric pressure change.  For me, a .20 change in the barometric pressure (e.g., from 30.05 to 29.85, or vice versa) triggers a migraine nearly every time, so I used .20 as the threshold, and looked at the number of days per year a city reported a .20 pressure swing in either direction.  I used data from May, 2007 through May, 2013, from 966 USGS weather stations.  The following lists summarize the results, cut in some interesting (and hopefully actionable) ways.

Update: in March 2016 I published a Global List of Barometric Variation

(Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and am in no way qualified to give medical advice. I organized this data for myself and for the benefit of those who believe that living in a place with less barometric variation could be good for their health, so that they could see which cities have more or less barometric variation.)

20 Major U.S. Cities with the Least Barometric Variation (days per year of >= .20 changes)

  1. Honolulu (0 days per year)
  2. Miami (4)
  3. San Diego (7)
  4. Los Angeles (7)
  5. Tampa (11)
  6. San Jose (14)
  7. Sacramento (18)
  8. San Francisco (18)
  9. Phoenix (22)
  10. New Orleans (22)
  11. Jacksonville (22)
  12. Birmingham (29)
  13. Houston (29)
  14. Atlanta (37)
  15. San Antonio (37)
  16. Austin (37)
  17. Memphis (44)
  18. Las Vegas (47)
  19. Little Rock (48)
  20. Charleston, SC (48)

Not surprisingly, it is the southern cities which have the fewest days of variation.  The “worst” list reinforces this theme:

20 U.S. Cities with the Most Barometric Variation (days per year of >= .20 changes)

  1. Augusta, Maine (128 days per year)
  2. Rapid City, SD (127)
  3. Montpelier, VT (117)
  4. Bismarck, ND (117)
  5. Boston (116)
  6. Colorado Springs (113)
  7. Denver (110)
  8. Billings, MT (109)
  9. Providence (109)
  10. New Haven (105)
  11. Cheyenne (105)
  12. Anchorage (104)
  13. Detroit (102)
  14. New York City (99)
  15. Buffalo (98)
  16. Minneapolis (98)
  17. Omaha (94)
  18. Chicago (91)
  19. Philadelphia (90)
  20. Baltimore (87)

At the U.S. State Level, here is the complete list:

  1. Hawaii (0)
  2. Florida (14)
  3. California (18)
  4. Alabama (27)
  5. Louisiana (27)
  6. Mississippi (28)
  7. Arizona (33)
  8. Georgia (35)
  9. Texas (45)
  10. Tennessee (46)
  11. Arkansas (46)
  12. South Carolina (48)
  13. Nevada (59)
  14. North Carolina (60)
  15. Oregon (61)
  16. Kentucky (62)
  17. Missouri (68)
  18. New Mexico (72)
  19. West Virginia (73)
  20. Oklahoma (73)
  21. Washington (75)
  22. Illinois (78)
  23. Virginia (78)
  24. Indiana (80)
  25. Utah (81)
  26. Ohio (82)
  27. Kansas (84)
  28. Maryland (85)
  29. Iowa (85)
  30. Idaho (86)
  31. Pennsylvania (89)
  32. Delaware (89)
  33. Wisconsin (92)
  34. New Jersey (96)
  35. Colorado (99)
  36. Michigan (101)
  37. Minnesota (101)
  38. Alaska (101)
  39. New York (102)
  40. Nebraska (103)
  41. Connecticut (106)
  42. Rhode Island (107)
  43. Wyoming (107)
  44. Montana (108)
  45. Massachusetts (111)
  46. Vermont (112)
  47. New Hampshire (115)
  48. South Dakota (119)
  49. North Dakota (120)
  50. Maine (127)

Looking more deeply, we also see major differences by season.  From April 1 to September 30, the national average is only 18 days of high barometric variation.  From October 1 to March 31, the average is 50 days.  This data is consistent with much higher reported incidence of migraines in the winter months.

Here’s a sample distribution of barometric pressure variation for Austin, Texas.  The number of days is the average number of high variation days for that month of the year, from 2007 to 2013.

  • January – 6 days
  • February – 8 days
  • March – 5 days
  • April – 4 days
  • May – 2 days
  • June, July, August, September – 0 days
  • October – 3 days
  • November – 4 days
  • December – 7 days

So, if you live in Austin, more than half of your bad migraine days will be in the three winter months December to February.  This seasonal pattern seems to hold true for most of the country.

The final cut of the data I looked at was to answer the question, “is this getting worse?”  The answer is no, the data appear from year to year within the bounds of normal random variation.

So, what does it all mean?  Mostly, that if you suffer from pressure-induced migraines, and you live in the northern U.S. states, you may be able to significantly improve your quality of life by relocating to one of the southern states, especially to southern California or Florida.  And, that if you do that and work in a medical field, SecureVideo.com is standing ready to help you telecommute in a HIPAA-compliant way.

UPDATE:

Full list of cities is here: http://blog.securevideo.com/2014/09/23/u-s-cities-barometric-pressure-variation-full-list/