Let’s be honest: Most of us can’t stand mowing the lawn. It’s hard, dirty, sweaty, time-sucking work.

That’s why millions of us leave it to the pros to take care of our lawns. We dread taking on this tough task. And for residents of some metro areas, the task is even more of a chore. Actually, you could say it’s downright miserable.

To create our ranking of the 14 Most Miserable Metros for Mowing, we looked at four factors among the country’s 50 largest metro areas that make lawn care a particularly big pain in the butt:

  • Skin cancer risk. The higher the number, the more susceptible you are to skin cancer while you’re mowing.
  • Air quality. The higher the number, the more likely you are to be breathing bad air while you’re mowing.
  • Average daily humidity. The higher the number, the more likely you are to be dripping with sweat while you’re mowing.
  • Average annual precipitation. The higher the number, the more likely you are to be mowing the grass frequently.

After assigning an even value to those four factors, the Birmingham, AL, metro area rose to the top of our list.

Birmingham AL

In Birmingham, AL, subtropical conditions turn up the heat for mowers.
Photo: Flickr/Wally Argus

Brutal in Birmingham

Bethany O’Rear, a Birmingham agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says high temperatures in the region — three to four months out of the year, the thermometer zooms past 86 degrees — coupled with high humidity, insects and ozone pollution make mowing a challenge for both people and grass.

O’Rear acknowledges that lawn mowing in Birmingham can be brutal, but she says the outcome is worth the effort.  Fortunately, LawnStarter will soon provide lawn mowing in Birmingham, AL so you don’t have to suffer through the Alabama heat.

“You just need to take the necessary precautions during the dead of summer — sunscreen, insect repellent, and lots and lots of water for hydration purposes,” she says.

Here’s our complete list of the 14 Most Miserable Metros for Mowing.

1. Birmingham, AL

Birmingham AL

Photo: Ted Tucker/Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau

Skin cancer risk: 130
Air quality: 215
Average daily humidity: 70%
Average annual precipitation: 53.7 inches

2. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL

Tampa skyline

Photo: Flickr/Matthew Paulson

Skin cancer risk: 111
Air quality: 198
Average daily humidity: 74%
Average annual precipitation: 46.3 inches

3. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis skyline

Photo: Flickr/Dustin Batt

Skin cancer risk: 124
Air quality: 258
Average daily humidity: 70%
Average annual precipitation: 41 inches

4. Louisville, KY

Louisville

Photo: Flickr/StevenW.

Skin cancer risk: 105
Air quality: 242
Average daily humidity: 69%
Average annual precipitation: 44.9 inches

5. Nashville, TN

Nashville

Photo: Flickr/Brent Moore

Skin cancer risk: 66
Air quality: 206
Average daily humidity: 70%
Average annual precipitation: 47.3 inches

6. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh

Photo: Flickr/Always Shooting

Skin cancer risk: 99
Air quality: 211
Average daily humidity: 68%
Average annual precipitation: 38.2 inches

7. Buffalo, NY

Buffalo NY

Photo: Flickr/Jim Duell

Skin cancer risk: 112
Air quality: 147
Average daily humidity: 72%
Average annual precipitation: 40.5 inches

8. Milwaukee, WI

MIlwaukee

Photo: Flickr/Keith Ewing

Skin cancer risk: 63
Air quality: 252
Average daily humidity: 72%
Average annual precipitation: 34.8 inches

9. Hartford, CT

Hartford

Photo: Flickr/Patrick

Skin cancer risk: 60
Air quality: 239
Average daily humidity: 66%
Average annual precipitation: 45.9 inches

10. Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville FL

Photo: Visit Jacksonville

Skin cancer risk: 91
Air quality: 33
Average daily humidity: 76%
Average annual precipitation: 52.4 inches

11. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore

Photo: Thinglink

Skin cancer risk: 71
Air quality: 232
Average daily humidity: 66%
Average annual precipitation: 41.9 inches

12. Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati

Photo: Flickr/Christopher Fitz

Skin cancer risk: 136
Air quality: 99
Average daily humidity: 70%
Average annual precipitation: 41.9 inches

13. Richmond, VA

Richmond VA

Photo: Flickr/Jeff Horne

Skin cancer risk: 125
Air quality: 93
Average daily humidity: 70%
Average annual precipitation: 43.6 inches

14. Portland, OR

Portland Oregon

Photo: TMimages PDX

Skin cancer risk: 123
Air quality: 35
Average daily humidity: 73%
Average annual precipitation: 43.5 inches

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