Key West is the best U.S. winter location, the Farmer's Almanac says in its just-released 2013 edition.
In contrast to its list last year of the top cities where weather can shut down everyday life, this year's list was based on, among other things, top average temperature, humidity level, dew point and the like.
"We also decided that the best winter cities would have something for everyone, mainly, the warm sunny days, but also a few places would have snow and cold conditions," Almanac staff wrote. "Our first three choices are based on places that boast comfortable temperatures and plenty of sunshine; our last two, however, are places that can boast lots of cold and snowy weather."
The top five:
Key West: "What better way to enjoy winter weather than in a city that has no known record of frost, ice, sleet or snow? Thanks to its location, this city enjoys a mild, tropical maritime climate.
"The average afternoon winter temperature is in the 70s and at night only goes to a low of 60. The period of December through April receives abundant sunshine (70 percent in December, rising to 83 percent by April), and slightly less than 25 percent of Key West's annual rainfall. This rainfall usually occurs in advance of cold fronts, in a few heavy showers or occasionally five to eight light showers per month.
"If there is a cold front that blows in, it is modified by the warm Gulf waters it travels over. Winter temperatures are usually only 15 degrees lower than summer's."
San Diego: "The prevailing winds and weather are tempered by the Pacific Ocean, which results in winters that are pleasantly mild compared to other places on the same general latitude.... As for snow, it's practically unknown at the Weather Service office, although on those few and far between occasions when it has happened (1949, 1967, 1985), only a trace has fallen."
Phoenix: "The valley is oval shaped and flat, except for scattered precipitous mountains rising a few hundred to 1,500 feet above the valley floor. Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun annually attract thousands of visitors looking to enjoy the area's outstanding weather, attractions and activities."
Watertown, N.Y.: "This town is about 20 miles south of the Thousand Islands and west of the Adirondack Mountains. Named after the many falls located on the Black River, Watertown is also the birthplace of the five-and-dime and the safety pin. This is one of our two choices for those who love a winter that has tons of snow."
Flagstaff, Ariz.: "Just 150 miles north of Phoenix, Flagstaff is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet on a volcanic plateau at the base of the highest mountains in Arizona. The National Weather Service describes the winters here as vigorous, and the stormy months are January, February, and March."