In a recently compiled list of all 50 states by their respective winter’s level of misery, the state of Michigan came out as having the second-worst winter, behind only Minnesota. The online travel site Thrilllist considered a variety of factors when ranking the states, such as those with most unbearable winters, including temperature, local anecdotes and poor traffic condidions.

The site stated Michigan’s winter is notable for its length: beginning in October and historically not ending until April, when much of the country is already welcoming spring. While research indicates that other states ranked lower on the list may have subzero temperatures or higher average snowfall, Michigan is unique for its lack of sunshine and constantly gray skies, according to the site.

Bison Messink, Thrillist deputy editor and a self-described “recovering Michigander,” also noted in the report that other aspects of winter, like snow sports, do not salvage Michigan because of the state’s unfavorable topography.     

“Overnight, the road freezes,” Messink wrote. “In the morning you wake up and it is still dark. … You actually look forward to proper snowfall, just to cover the dirt. Even then, you do not go skiing, because there are no hills.”

Indeed, as students return for second semester at the University of Michigan, which is uniquely named “winter term”— rather than the common “spring term”adopted by many other universities like Ohio State and the University of Pennsylvania— skies will be consistently gray in Ann Arbor this week, and low temperatures expected to drop to 10 degrees Fahrenheit after sunset.

These conditions, which will persist for at least three more months and also described by Messink as “Godforsaken,” inspired Michigan’s high ranking on the list.

All contributors to the lsit are familiar with the various states, but the top states are notorious even among debaters of weather.

“(We) have both experienced the personal hell that is winter’s awkwardly long, frigid embrace,” editors Matt Lynch and Kevin Alexander wrote for Thrillist. “And so began an intense period of research and debate. … This is one of those things where you probably actually want to finish last.”

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