Does Lake Michigan influence our chances of getting tornadoes?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
Does Lake Michigan influence our chances of getting tornadoes?

Jimmy,
South Holland

Dear Jimmy,
Tornado statistics suggest Lake Michigan increases the likelihood of tornadoes across northern Illinois and northern Indiana. In some spring and summer situations, the boundary between lake-cooled air and warm inland air acts as a cold front. Thunderstorms that move along the boundary grow stronger, last longer and are more likely to produce tornadoes. When this lake-induced cold front extends east-west across northern Illinois and northern Indiana, a corridor of potentially severe weather is established from southern Chicagoland east into Indiana. In situations when the boundary has shifted south, the presence of low level, lake-cooled air inhibits tornado development.

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