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I grew up in NY so I am no stranger to harsh winters. But I have been living in Ca for 10 yrs now and my blood has thinned so I am not sure how I would do living in a place with long and very cold winters. What do you do to make it through the long winters? When does it start to get cold and when does it start to warm up? Thanks for the info
Recent winters have been relatively mild, but that's the thing about Chicago...bam! Suddenly you get one of those blizzard years where it is unbearably cold and snowy. Who can predict? As for the start and end to winter, good luck! It can feel like winter in early November, feel like Spring in December and January, then back to winter in Feb/March. Very unpredictable! Welcome to the midwest!
People adjust and adapt to climates over time. Liking it is another.
Chicago winters are worse than NYC winters when it comes to cold. Up-State New York gets more snow than Chicago.
Weather is nice from June-Sept. Cooler by the lake by a lot. Sometimes this is bad and sometimes this is good depending on time of year. By nice I mean highs of low 70's to low 90's.....
Fall isn't bad, over-rated imo. It is cool, crisp, sometimes wet, sometimes not, which is October, ...heading into November....December is hit or miss early winter days....Jan and Feb are bone chilling cold. Pray for no wind. Huge difference. .....Biggest drawback for Chicago is temps get way to cold(as in 20's and teens and even below zero all too often in these few months). And that negative is a tie with the lack of Spring. Don't blink or you will miss Spring. June almost feels like Spring imo. March and April are often cloudy cool to cold days, and by that time people are just sick of it. May is spotty, depends on the year.
Some people move away strictly because of weather. Some don't mind it as much and a 3rd group hates it and just complains but stays.
Weather is very unpredictable from day to day sure...but the above is loosely generally pretty accurate from experience.
Travel 4 hrs South to St. Louis for much less harsh winters and springs.(but it still isn't ideal there either).
You can visit Chicago in the summer then visit agin in Feb and wonder where all of the people went....lol.
If you don't mind the short warmer months, and like the city, you will do fine. If warmer, sunnier weather is important to you in winter or even in fall or Spring, you will have a big challenge. Over years of time people get used to the weather wherever they are and prepare for it.
People take advantage of those better weather months and savor them big time.
Hi - Chicago winters are hard and you can't get around that. I lived in Chicago for 35 years then moved to Arizona, then Seattle, Washington.
After 10 years in Arizona, I couldn't stand another day of constant, infernal sunshine. You get sick of the same thing day in and day out, believe it or not. I really hated the long, hot summers (115 degrees yesterday, by the way) more than I ever hated Chicago winters. I loved the winters but Arizona lacked any degree of passion, culture, or the pure greatness of Chicago people and the city. It's very disjointed and full of a lot of transients and snowbirds (from the Midwest) who leave during the summer.
A job transferred me to Seattle in the winter and I've been here for 6 years. Even after all those years in Chicago, I still cannot not bear the winters in Seattle. You see, even with the brutal cold of Chicago, the sun comes out. My first winter in Seattle it rained for 60 days straight and the sun never came out. It set at 3:30 in the afternoon (even though it never became visible at all). The few times it got frosty cold here or snowed, the sun would come out. I would wake up and feel raring to go. If it was raining, I wanted to go back to bed.
I don't care what Seattle people say but there is a pervasive sort of depression here that really was hard for me to adjust to. Chicagoans (and Illinois people) are very community oriented and they like to laugh. Other Chicagoans I met in Seattle agreed with me on the morose lack of humor here - which, when coming from a Chicagoan is often misinterpreted by a Seattlite. I think the humorlessness is just due to the infernal rain. It's a beautiful place but people here don't really value friendships as much as Midwesterners, I think. It's complicated. Do a search for "The Seattle Freeze" written by the Seattle Post Intelligencer on the Web and you will understand this rather unfriendly city.
So, I am meandering around here with my history to tell you that I am moving back to Chicago. My blood has thinned also and it will be hard in the beginning. I'm prepared for that. You and I will have to wear extra layers in the winter in the beginning (and maybe beyond) - yet, my blood had to thin when I moved from Chicago to Arizona and that was hard. I sweated all the time and sometimes it was hard to breathe. When I moved to Seattle, I had to thicken my blood again because it was colder. You get over it.
I have come to the conclusion that it is not the weather that makes a place. That's my opinion and as the other poster said, it's a matter of what you like or don't like. Yet, what Chicago and Illinois means to me and what it holds is far more important than anything I've found out West for these 16 or so years. It's the community, the loyal friendships that Midwesterners form with each other. It's the amazing culture in the cities and the hospitality. On any Seattle Freeze message board (and there is one on "Yelp"), everyone says "hands down - Chicago has the nicest people of anywhere they have lived."
I don't know if in the middle of January I will be singing the praises of Chicago so loud but I lived through many years of that weather and I know I won't die. The seasons emerge and they are magnficient - something you don't get in Arizona or Seattle to the extremes you do in Illinois. I love Chicago and I am excited to come home. I'm prepared for the bugs in summer and the cold in the winter - but there is bug spray and long underwear to get me through. There is too much there that matters more than weather in my opinion.
Good luck to you and one word of advice - buy your winter coat in Illinois - no where else. I haven't been able to find one in Seattle that would even keep me warm enough in Chicago.
I keep myself busy by going to the gym more during the winter months. Thats one great thing about Chicago is that after you get yourself all nice and chubby during the holidays, there are plenty of great workout facilities to join where you can go to to burn off that extra chub just in time for the spring.
There is nothing like standing on the Blue Line platform in January, in the dark, at 6:15 am when the bank thermometer reads -17 degrees F to make one feel alive!
Sometimes winter is beautiful, but sometimes you just can't take one more stinkin' day of bitter winds off the lake and dirty, salty streets. They invented a diagnosis called SAD-seasonal affective disorder because of the sometimes seemingly endless winter.
But, no one enjoys summer like we do!! Everyone eeks every last moment out of it until the winter starts again, even when they're holed up in their house on a 98 degree day with the air cranked down to 70.
We had some pretty mild winters in the late '90's, but this last one was long and cold. December and Christmas was temperate and nice but just as the new year come upon us it stayed mighty cold for weeks. Remember Superbowl Sunday? After the game my guests wondered if their cars would start and all the windows on my enclosed front porch were frozen. In April it was 72 one day and 32 the next....for a week. I lost two rose bushes because of that. You know what they say in Chicago...wait 5 minutes and the weather will change.
We're all hearty and strong and a bit weary after a winter in Northern Illinois. Just invest in a nice warm coat, long johns, hat, gloves, scarf and some patience and you'll make it. We all do.
Location: Jonquil City (aka Smyrna) Georgia- by Atlanta
16,249 posts, read 11,980,643 times
Chicago winters are Hell on Earth. The main reason I don't live there anymore. You freeze about 8 months a year. From November well into May. It often snows until the end of April. And often the temperature does not come above freezing for weeks at a time which means that all the ice and snow that covers everything stays for a long time. And the snow is worse along the lakefront which also sometimes suffers from gale winds in November that blow water on Lakeshore Drive and on cars which freezes on contact. It is so cold there sometimes that you get frostbite just waiting on a train. They put these cheap little heaters on the platforms which do about as much good as tying a balloon to a 100 pound weight!
Kev, you are so right about those cheap heaters on the platforms. It's a joke when a dozen people are all crowded in one of those things. We look like little birds all huddled together. Sometimes even my eyes are cold and I wish I had goggles to keep the wind out.
It was about 90 today (before the thunderstorm in the afternoon), it was great! These days I keep in mind when it's winter. How can this place be so extreme? It's really unbelieveable sometimes.
Sorry, but most of the above posts are just not right. Someone said it best, several posts up, you get used to your surroundings and deal with it. Chicago is not as bad as many make it out. Seattle can be dark and grey, but if you don't like cold and shoveling, it's OK! Find a place that fits you and you will be OK.
Some people move away strictly because of weather.
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