Up until the early 1990s, South Dakota's official flag touted us as 'The Sunshine State', before giving way to the much more appropriate 'Mount Rushmore State'.

So was there any truth to South Dakota's one-time claim about having an abundance of sunshine?

It depends on where you look.

On average, the state gets about 213 sunny days a year (nearly 60 percent), which isn't horrible, but when you look at the intensity of sunshine we see on a daily basis our geography really gets in the way.

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24/7 Wall St., using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ranked the lower 48 states based on their annual average daily dose of UV irradiance, or the output of light energy from the sun, as measured on earth.

For South Dakota that translates to the 35th weakest sunshine in America, which is more than 39 percent less than the state with the strongest sunlight (Arizona).

Not surprisingly, all of the states with the top ten weakest sunlight are Northern states, with Maine's sunlight intensity nearly half (47.9%) of Arizona's.


  1. Maine
  2. North Dakota
  3. Vermont
  4. Michigan
  5. Minnesota
  6. Washington
  7. Wisconsin
  8. New Hampshire
  9. New York
  10. Montana


  1. Arizona
  2. New Mexico
  3. Florida
  4. Texas
  5. Colorado
  6. Louisiana
  7. Georgia
  8. Alabama
  9. Mississippi
  10. California

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

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