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Old 01-07-2011, 07:49 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
2,112 posts, read 5,131,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grapico View Post
Yes as I was saying even in the suburbs due north of Chicago the snowfall starts increasing. Chicago gets missed quite a bit when Wisconsin is getting pounded. Milwaukee gets 52 inches of snowfall a year. Minneapolis is 45 but has 100 days a year on average of at least 1 inch snow cover...now there is where snow doesn't melt too much.
Ok, well my aunt/uncle live in Lake Forest, which is considerably north of the city (maybe even closer to Wisconsin line than the Loop?). Still, shocking to see that the Midwest receives so little snow compared to much of the northeast, even Minneapolis considering it's so cold and the lows come through that way.

 
Old 01-07-2011, 10:41 AM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,391 posts, read 23,790,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsimms3 View Post
Ok, well my aunt/uncle live in Lake Forest, which is considerably north of the city (maybe even closer to Wisconsin line than the Loop?). Still, shocking to see that the Midwest receives so little snow compared to much of the northeast, even Minneapolis considering it's so cold and the lows come through that way.
Yep. That is why people when they say "chicago has horrible winters" I say uhhh not really, try the rest of the "North" and it isn't exactly that bad. Yeah NYC has a milder winter but that is right on the Atlantic Ocean. It's certainly a better winter than Michigan/WI/Dakotas/Minnesota/Most of NY State/NE Ohio/Western PA/All of New England/Most of the Mountain West, and of course we are still not into Canadian cities east of the Rockies.
Being close to the lake if you are actually IN most of the city of Chicago actually keeps it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Check out the cold hardiness zone for example:



You'll see a little green belt overlapping Chicago. While say if you were to go 30 miles north or northwest you are in a completely different zone.

Last edited by grapico; 01-07-2011 at 10:51 AM..
 
Old 01-07-2011, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,869,750 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsimms3 View Post
Ok, well my aunt/uncle live in Lake Forest, which is considerably north of the city (maybe even closer to Wisconsin line than the Loop?). Still, shocking to see that the Midwest receives so little snow compared to much of the northeast, even Minneapolis considering it's so cold and the lows come through that way.
The reason the Northeast gets more snow is because storms pick up a bunch of moisture from the ocean and then dump it on land in the form of snow. The same happens near the Great Lakes too -- on the leeward side of the lakes. Chicago is on the windward side of Lake Michigan. That's why Buffalo gets hammered with snow while Chicago doesn't get nearly as much. It's not uncommon for the Indiana suburbs as close as 10 to 15 miles from the Chicago city limits to get a foot and a half of snow while the city gets maybe a few inches; a storm system roaring down from Canada will sweep down the lake and then dump all the moisture it picked up on the cities and towns on the southern tip of the lake. Chicago usually gets spared the worst of it because the system is almost always moving in at least a slightly easterly direction even if it's coming down from the north.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is Ground Zero for lake effect snow because it's surrounded by water. Therefore it's almost always downwind from a storm system approaching over water no matter what direction it's approaching from. Consequently, Houghton MI averages 17 feet of snow per year (compared to Buffalo's 8 feet per year). As they like to say up there, "we have two seasons: Winter's Coming, and Winter's Here."
 
Old 01-07-2011, 05:16 PM
 
11,017 posts, read 21,590,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsimms3 View Post
Ok, well my aunt/uncle live in Lake Forest, which is considerably north of the city (maybe even closer to Wisconsin line than the Loop?). Still, shocking to see that the Midwest receives so little snow compared to much of the northeast, even Minneapolis considering it's so cold and the lows come through that way.
Yeah, our area of the Midwest normally gets one good snow of around 10-12" each winter, and then random snows of 1-3". Some winters it snows quite a bit, other times it doesn't even snow at all until the end of January and we only get a few little snows the entire year.

I don't remember there ever being more than a foot or so on the ground before it starts melting down during the thaws that happen throughout the winter.
 
Old 01-07-2011, 06:10 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
Yeah, our area of the Midwest normally gets one good snow of around 10-12" each winter, and then random snows of 1-3". Some winters it snows quite a bit, other times it doesn't even snow at all until the end of January and we only get a few little snows the entire year.

I don't remember there ever being more than a foot or so on the ground before it starts melting down during the thaws that happen throughout the winter.
Yeah Chicago rarely if ever gets the "heavy snow" or "blizzard" effects of winter, it does get a few cold snaps. But last year it only went below 0 one time over a period of 2 nights in a row.
There is a period from about Jan 1-Feb 15th that can potentially be pretty bad in terms of cold snaps going into sub zero that I don't think NYC for example will experience. I.E. you are going to work at 7:30 and the temp is 2, have experience a few of those and yes that is not fun. We're almost halfway through official winter though and its one of the easiest first halfs of winter I remember.
February generally sucks b/c you are tired of it at that point and get some snows then. Sometimes March can be fine, other times winter will stay 2-3 weeks longer towards St. Patrick's Day. April 1st last year was 82 degrees though..

Some winters are certainly worse than others... the 2007-2008 was pretty miserable... 30 days with lows under 10, 11 under 0, the main problem being many of those back to back over a period of 6 weeks (as suggested time frame above)

Last year 2009-2010 winter there were only 17 of those days...2 under 0.

Both Chicago summer AND winter is a bit like that ... basically you might have 2 SUCKY weeks of bone chilling cold dipping sub zero or 2 weeks of Heat Wave 90+ days. or you might not have it at all. I.E. summer of 2009 only had 4 days over 90. I've seen it where it pushed 20. 2006 for instance had 12. These bone chilling winters or summers though are generally only every 4-5 years you will "get one".

so now look at somewhere like Orlando which for some people seem to like it... Their entire month of June for instance only had 1 day that temps didn't hit 90. In case you think I am making this up... http://www.wunderground.com/history/....html#calendar there you go. That to me is truly uncomfortable and relentless weather. 112 days in 2010 over 90 degrees! Even Oct 27th in Orlando was 91 degrees well into "fall' If you look at somewhere like Fargo, ND... They have equally bad in the other direction. 92 days under 10, and 63 days under 0... OUCH. Compare that to same year of Chicago with 17 under 10, 2 under 0. I'll take the total miserable of seasonal weather summer+winter totalling 20-30 uncomfortable days year round vs. the 90-100 a year

Now some people like these extremes, I like somewhere in the middle, Coastal CA is pretty exquisite weather year round but of course there is a weather premium associated with it. Otherwise Chicago is pretty tolerable year round with only a few periods of "extreme" weather.

Last edited by grapico; 01-07-2011 at 06:54 PM..
 
Old 01-10-2011, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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The power of lake-effect snow and how your location relative to the lake can make a huge difference:

In the last 2 days, Chicago has received about half an inch of snow. Meanwhile in South Bend, 80 miles away, in the same time frame they've been buried beneath 3 feet of it. And last I heard it hadn't even stopped snowing there yet.
 
Old 01-10-2011, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Detroit's eastside, downtown Detroit in near future!
2,055 posts, read 3,703,707 times
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I think what you all are missing about the winters is (from what I read, didn't read every post) is more snow doesn't equal "worst winters". The mid-west get a lot of those days where its just too damn cold to snow lol. Although I haven't been to the eastcoast, many people I know say they have milder winters because their wind chill isn't as rough. If you think Chicago has milder winters than cities in other midwestern states I'd beg to differ. Comparing winters in Chicago to Detroit for example Chicago definitely has harsher winters than here. When its cold here, its freezing in Chicago. Yes there are those exceptions but from my experiences in Chicago, it always seems colder in the winter and hotter in the summer there than it does here.
 
Old 01-11-2011, 06:56 PM
 
11,017 posts, read 21,590,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by detroitlove View Post
I think what you all are missing about the winters is (from what I read, didn't read every post) is more snow doesn't equal "worst winters". The mid-west get a lot of those days where its just too damn cold to snow lol. Although I haven't been to the eastcoast, many people I know say they have milder winters because their wind chill isn't as rough. If you think Chicago has milder winters than cities in other midwestern states I'd beg to differ. Comparing winters in Chicago to Detroit for example Chicago definitely has harsher winters than here. When its cold here, its freezing in Chicago. Yes there are those exceptions but from my experiences in Chicago, it always seems colder in the winter and hotter in the summer there than it does here.
Go anywhere north and west of Chicago and it gets MUCH colder in the winter.

Chicago certainly gets freezing - but as was stated a few posts up.....it's usually just snaps throughout the winter. It doesn't make the fun stop or scare people into staying inside for months on end (haha - I've actually heard people who thought that).
 
Old 01-11-2011, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 7,928,886 times
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Why do people think Chicago is better than New York?

Blind optimism.

No, just kidding. Because some people want New York without as much of the congestion or notoriety, and Chicago is just that. Plus Chicago is often slated as a more "down-to-Earth" city and more "small-town" city, which New York can probably NEVER claim. To each their own, and I personally like Chicago (it's my kinda town), but NYC is clearly loveable.
 
Old 01-11-2011, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 7,928,886 times
Reputation: 4214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
Go anywhere north and west of Chicago and it gets MUCH colder in the winter.

Chicago certainly gets freezing - but as was stated a few posts up.....it's usually just snaps throughout the winter. It doesn't make the fun stop or scare people into staying inside for months on end (haha - I've actually heard people who thought that).
Yes! Both colder in the winter AND hotter in the summer. The Dakotas, for instance, can get to -50 in the winter and 115 in the summer. That's nuts!
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