How does Chicago’s proximity to Lake Michigan affect our weather?

Ask Tom Why

Dear Tom,
What effects on our weather does the location of Chicago on Lake Michigan have?
Georgia Callus,
Morton Grove
Dear Georgia,
The effects are profound. Some of those effects, like cooling lake breezes during the summer and lake-effect snows during the winter, are obvious. Others, while more significant, are not so generally realized. Our proximity to the Great Lakes also results in cooler summers and milder winters; more overall cloudiness and a longer duration of unsettled weather with showers/flurries in the wake of departing low pressure systems; higher average winds; fewer spring thunderstorms, and, in a corridor from southwest Wisconsin to northern Indiana, a tendency for more severe weather and for heavy “training thunderstorm” events.


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