Are severe storms in the Geneva-St. Charles Illinois area affected by the local terrain?

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Dear Tom,
Some residents in the Geneva-St. Charles area claim that severe storms fizzle or deviate as they approach because of Johnson’s Mound near Elburn. Any truth to that?

Ed Woelfle, Geneva

Dear Ed,
There is not. The Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve is a heavily wooded, stratified gravel hill, known as a “kame”, formed by melting glaciers some 10,000 years ago. However, it has no effect on severe thunderstorms that approach the Fox Valley. The area’s elevation of 50 to 200 feet above the surrounding landscape would have no effect on severe thunderstorms with cloud bases several thousand feet above the ground. While it is a common perception that severe storms seem to avoid “my” area, over time the occurrences average out and areas record about the same storm frequency. Weather records show that over the years, St. Charles and Geneva have logged their fair share of severe weather.

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