What U.S. State is the true “sunshine state”?

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Dear Tom,
Florida’s motto is the “Sunshine State,” but I question that. I’ve been to the Southwest (Arizona and New Mexico) as well as to Florida and it seems as if the Southwest was sunnier.
Marshal Feresetter

Dear Marshal,
National Weather Service statistics confirm your suspicion that Florida is not the nation’s sunniest state, but it does rank near the top of the list. Arizona leads that list, followed by California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and then, at #6, Florida. Florida’s warm, humid and semi-tropical climate is conducive to cumulus clouds and afternoon thunderstorms, and Florida leads the nation in thunderstorm frequency. A typical Florida day starts sunny, but cumulus clouds fill the sky by noon and scattered thunderstorms dot the peninsula by mid afternoon. Florida calls itself the “Sunshine State” but it would be more accurate if it called itself the “Partly Cloudy State.”


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