Are there more thunderstorms today than in the past?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
My wife and I think that there are now fewer thunderstorms than when we were children. Is there any truth to this?
Thanks, Tyler Glen Ellyn
Dear Tyler,
It’s not true. Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski scanned a database of Chicago’s annual thunderstorm days dating back to 1871, and in 2019 the city logged 59 days, the most in any year since 1977, when 65 were logged. This was well above the city’s long-term annual average of 38. Last year’s robust total was buoyed by an extremely thundery May and June with a combined 21 thunderstorm days. January was the only month that failed to log a thunderstorm. Since 2015, the city has averaged a well above normal 50 days with thunder. Wachowski noted that the city’s thunderstorm days range from a minimum of five in 1875 and 1879 to a maximum of 66 in 1975.


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