Where would this April rank using lakefront temperatures?

Ask Tom Why
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Dear Tom,

This past April is “officially” the fourth coldest on record. But the “official” readings for the three colder years were taken on the lakefront. Where would this April rank using lakefront temperatures?

Joe Meyer
Mt. Prospect

Dear Joe,

Great question as it’s always best to compare apples with apples. Chicago’s official temperatures were taken at a variety of lakefront locations until moved inland to Midway Airport in mid-1942 and then to O’Hare in 1980. The three Aprils colder than this year’s 41.2 degrees were all recorded near the lake–in 1874(38.8 degrees),1907 (39.8 degrees) and 1904(40.7 degrees). This year, Northerly Island’s average temperature Island was 39.7 degrees which would rank as second coldest. In April, the chilly lake water hovers in the 30s and 40s, effectively lowering daytime highs and elevating overnight lows.


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