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Old 11-17-2008, 11:43 AM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
25,906 posts, read 38,166,502 times
Reputation: 42598

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Hi everybody,

I'm sorry if I am asking a redundant question. I did a few searches in this forum and couldn't easily find exactly what I needed, so please forgive me if you've been asked this a hundred times.

What can I really expect this winter in Naperville?

We moved here in August for my husband's job, and we love it here. It's beautiful and I never want to leave. We're from Southern California, and although I have heard "WHY in the WORLD would you move HERE?" more times than I can count, I have no regrets about moving away from the crowded freeways, the insanely overpriced housing, and the smoggy skies.

We researched Naperville quite a bit before we moved, including the average temperature. I spent quite a lot of time on this forum, in fact, although this is my first time posting.

I come to you with this question because the longer I've lived here (four months), the more confused and apprehensive about the winter I get. Note: we did live in Colorado for three years, so we've lived in snow. We know how to drive on icy streets and what being cold feels like. But how cold?? I can't get a straight answer.

1. If I look at Wikipedia or any number of websites, January is usually the coldest month, with average temperatures around 15 degrees F. Okay, no big deal.

2. A friend of mine at work echoes what I think "Steve-O" said in another thread. It gets cold, sure, but only on a few days. It's usually fine if you're bundled up. So far, so good.

3. A post in this forum somewhere said that one day was -25 F in Chicago, and with the wind chill, it was 85 below! That scares me. That is much, much different from 15 degrees. That's 100 degrees colder! I am NOT going outside when it's -85.

4. I came home from the airport last night, and it had snowed a little bit. My taxi driver was very friendly but warned me about the infamous wind and how winters are 50 below here.

I can't find any temperature records that include the wind chill factor. I don't know whether people who have lived here all their lives like my coworker (and Steve-O?) shrug off temperatures well below zero as not that big a deal, or whether people like my taxi driver are just exaggerating.

I got a Land's End catalog in the mail the other day, and they have coats that will keep me warm up to 50 below. They sure didn't sell those in Southern California! What kind of temps do I really need to prepare for??

Thank you very much.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:46 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 75,235,679 times
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Like most things there is more than a hyperbole at work in the "windchill". The science behind it is sound up to point -- basically wind removes heat from an object more quickly than still air of the some temperature.

The difficulty is that the wind chill charts extrapolate so that if a glass of water freezes to ice in 5 minutes at 30 degrees with no wind and the wind is blowing 20 mph it freezes as quickly as if the air temp was 20 degrees then the chart shows that at 40 mph the water would freeze like it was 10 degrees. That is not how things REALLY feel or behave...
Thus they have redone the charts: Revised Wind Chill Index — Infoplease.com

Now they at least do the calculation on the potential for frostbite, but honestly if it is that cold AND that windy no one is going to leave their house. It just does NOT happen all that often!

The day-to-day of weather is kind of a big deal -- if your kids walk to school they'll need layers of clothing to stay warm and dry. Ditto for any commuting you do. But the "dangerous" aspect is overblown, it is mostly just darn uncomfortable to be out when it is really windy and cold. Throw in some sloppy freezing rain and you won't leave the house.

Rarely do such conditions persist for more than few days uninterrupted. There is data about how many days of sunshine and such, the region does not do badly at all.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Chicago
2,884 posts, read 4,292,071 times
Reputation: 2757
Last winter was much colder than what we'd experienced through most of the 2000's, so people are thinking about last year when they give you gloom and doom about the weather. If you've lived in Colorado I don't think you have anything to worry about. Though I have to say when I was a kid in the 70's we had several ski trips to Colorado and we'd always be surprised at how much warmer Denver was. There are occasionally days with really bitter wind chills, but not every year. You know that Chicago isn't called The Windy City because of the weather, right? Chicago is not one of the windiest cities in the U.S. THIS is a fun link Interesting United States Weather Facts and Extremes Tom Skilling on WGN news is a great source for Chicago weather info. He also writes a page in the Tribune. ASK TOM WHY - WGN Weather Center Blog - Chicago
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,705,987 times
Reputation: 3858
There's always one or two evenings in February every year where the wind chill gets down to -30 degrees at 2 AM. Once every fifty years or so you have wind chills getting down to -85 degrees. Stay inside those days. The vast majority of the time the weather is pretty tolerable (single digits at most) if you dress warmly.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:09 PM
hsw
 
2,144 posts, read 6,551,602 times
Reputation: 1538
Part of why many from CA actually respect Chic region (unlike Manhattan) is that it's about as car-centric as LA or SiliconValley

Suburbs and Chic itself are rather efficient in ability to drive everywhere (w/convenient, safe parking)....so limited exposure to inclement weather (it's both cold, slushy in Winter and hot/humid in Summer) makes Chic region far more temperate than Manhattan...weather is more relevant to those who choose to commute via mass transit

View Naperville as the Irvine of Chic....great middle-income housing; superb public schools....but flat, boring, treeless topography w/o Irvine's easy proximity to Coast....and drive from Naperville into Chic for anything is probably more problematic than driving from Irvine to BeverlyHills for dinner, etc

Not sure Naperville is much cheaper than Irvine in terms of houses, but clearly will appreciate the far lower state income taxes of IL (~3%) vs CA's ~10% inc tx rates
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:45 PM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
25,906 posts, read 38,166,502 times
Reputation: 42598
Default Wow, thanks everybody

What you've said is very helpful.

I do disagree quite a bit on the comparison of Naperville to Irvine. Flat and treeless? Have you been here? It's not terribly hilly, and it's no San Francisco, sure, but it's not flat by any means. And there are hundreds of thousands of trees here ... we raked up what fell off the three biggest trees in my yard, and the pile is literally bigger than my car.

The newer segments of Naperville do remind me of Irvine: cookie cutter houses and young trees. I live in the older area, and it's nothing like Irvine except maybe income-wise. I'm glad. I don't really care for Irvine.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,479 posts, read 10,865,331 times
Reputation: 2813
Sorry HSW. Absolutely no criticisizing Naperville unless you're from around here And the Lake Michigan Sea coast is arguably almost as nice as the CA Ocean coast and the water here does get above 70 degrees for a 139 hour stretch in August.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Chicago
15,587 posts, read 24,311,984 times
Reputation: 1761
I have seen more than a few days where I took a glass out water outside and poured it onto the ground. The water froze before it hit the ground or shortly after hitting the ground.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Chicago
15,587 posts, read 24,311,984 times
Reputation: 1761
Quote:
Originally Posted by sukwoo View Post
...There's always one or two evenings in February every year where the wind chill gets down to -30 degrees at 2 AM. Once every fifty years or so you have wind chills getting down to -85 degrees...
No it is not once every 50 years. There have been many days in the last 25 years I can remember where the wind chill was -30 to -75 or so depending on where you were at in the area.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:56 PM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
25,906 posts, read 38,166,502 times
Reputation: 42598
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avengerfire View Post
I have seen more than a few days where I took a glass out water outside and poured it onto the ground. The water froze before it hit the ground or shortly after hitting the ground.
See, THAT'S the stuff that scares me. I read Jack London's To Build a Fire in school.
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