Chicago Climate ❄️ | Chicago Weather Averages, Temperatures, Yearly, Monthly & More!

Chicago is famously known as the Windy City. Did you know this nickname isn’t actually a reference to the Chicago climate but instead a derisive comment from the 1890s referring to politicians blowing hot air? Chicago has a hot-summer humid continental climate with all four seasons. Winters are very cold and snowy while summers are extremely humid and hot. Throughout the year, Lake Michigan strongly influences the weather in Chicago.

Moving to Chicago or just visiting? Here’s what you should know about the climate in Chicago and what to expect by season and month.

Chicago Seasons

Spring

When does spring start in Chicago? Spring begins in March and ends in May. Flowers start to bloom as the Chicago weather finally warms up. The parks and lakefront start to get busy as temperatures ease into the 50s then up to 70° by May.

What is there to do in Chicago in the spring? Be sure to catch the Chicago Cubs opening day at Wrigley Field! There are tons of events to enjoy during spring like the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and the kick-off event when the Chicago River is dyed green. You’ll also love the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier and the Chicago Botanical Garden.

Summer

June marks the beginning of summer, the rainy season in Chicago which also comes with plenty of humidity and high temperatures. While the city gets fairly moderate precipitation spread throughout the year, July and August are the wettest months. Rainfall in Chicago is usually brief but very intense and may cause flooding.

Looking for things to do in Chicago in the summer? Put Taste of Chicago on your list. This 5-day event in July is the world’s biggest food festival! You’ll also love exploring Chicago’s parks, dining outside at the beachfront restaurants, and days spent at Navy Pier – one of the best places to see the 4th of July fireworks!

 

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Fall

Autumn lasts from September through November. What is fall like in Chicago? It tends to be very pleasant with temperatures ranging from lows of 57°F to 34°F to average highs of 49°F to 75°F. You’ll still get plenty of rain during autumn, but less than summer.

The cooler weather brings beautiful fall colors on display at Lincoln Park plus a host of fun fall activities in Chicago. Visit pumpkin patches like the Pumpkin Patch and Walk at Lincoln Park Zoo and pick apples around Chicagoland like Kulper’s Family Farm. Chicago has exciting food festivals and other events in the fall like Oktoberfest in September.

 

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Winter

When does winter start in Chicago? In December when temperatures drop rapidly but you’ll still experience a mix of snow and rain. Winter in Chicago is quite cold with lots of snow, but it gets less snow than other large cities by the Great Lakes. The most bitter cold comes in January and February. Winter officially ends in February.

Chicago winters are very cold and snowy, but there are still plenty of things to do in Chicago during winter! Head to Millennium Park for ice skating, head to the Dan Ryan Woods nature preserve for sledding, and explore the Lightscape night-time event at the Chicago Botanic Garden. You’ll even find fun date night ideas during the winter like The Gwen Hotel’s rooftop bar with a fun iceless curling rink and cocktails beside the fire pits.

 

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Chicago Monthly Weather

January

The average high temperature in Chicago in January is 31.5°F with an average low of 18.2°F. January is the coldest month in Chicago and the snowiest. On average, you’ll get 11.5 inches of snow in January alone! There is some precipitation about 11 days during the month, 8 of which are snowy.

February

February has an average high of 35.8°F and an average low of 21.7°F. February still gets plenty of snow and a bit of rain. You’ll get around 9 inches of snow during the month over 9 days on average.

March

The average low in March is 30.9°F with an average high of 46.8°F. Temperatures are starting to warm up as spring rolls around. March still gets some snow, but it’s also likely to rain too. There are about 11 average days of precipitation, 4 of which are snowy days.

April

April in Chicago has an average high temperature of 59.2°F and an average low temperature of 41.7°F. You’ll rarely see snow in April but it rains an average of 11 days during the month with about 3.6 inches of rain total.

May

The average high temperature in May is 70.2°F with an average low of 51.6°F. May is the rainiest month in Chicago with an average of 4.13” of rain and 11 days of precipitation.

June

The average high temperature in June in Chicago is 79.9°F with an average low of 62.1°F. June marks the beginning of summer and there is a mean maximum temperature of 94°F and a record high temperature of 107°F. It rains about 10 days during June with more than 4 inches on average.

July

In July, Chicago has an average high temperature of 84.2°F with an average low temperature of 67.5°F. July tends to see a lot of rain with 4 inches on average. July is the hottest month in Chicago: the mean maximum temperature is more than 84°F.

August

August has an average high temperature of 82.1°F. The average low is 66.2°F. Temperatures are just starting to cool off in August, the last month of summer, but it’s still humid. You’ll still get about 4 inches of rain on average over nine days.

September

The average high in September is 75.3°F while the average low is 57.5°F. September marks the beginning of autumn which brings less rain and cooler temperatures.

October

October has an average high temperature of 62.8°F and an average low temperature of 45.7°F. There are about 10 days of rain on average in October.

November

The average low temperature in November is 34.5°F. The average high is 48.6°F. Temperatures start to drop again in November as fall comes to an end. There are 11 days on average with precipitation, 2 of which are snowy.

December

The average low temperature in Chicago in December is 22.7°F with an average high of 35.3°F. The first month of winter brings an average of 8.7 inches of snow and 2.5 inches of rain over 11 days with precipitation.

 

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Climate Statistics for Chicago

  • Number of sunny days in Chicago: 189
  • Annual rainfall in Chicago: 36.8”
  • Annual snowfall in Chicago: 36” (ranging from just 10” in 1920/21 to 89.7” in 1978/79)
  • Coldest month: January is the coldest month in Chicago with an average low of 18.2°F.
  • Hottest month: July is the hottest month in Chicago with an average high of 84.2°F.
  • Wettest month: May is the wettest month in Chicago with 4.13” of rain on average.
  • Snowiest month: January is the snowiest month in Chicago with an average snowfall of 11.5 inches.
  • Most humid month: December is the most humid month in Chicago with average humidity of 65.4%.
  • Greatest 24-hour precipitation: 9.35” of rain on August 13-14, 1987 and 18.6” of snow on January 2, 1999
  • Chicago record high temperature: 105°F on July 24, 1934 (unofficial is 109°F on the same day)
  • Chicago record low temperature: -27°F on January 20, 1985 (unofficial is -33°F)
  • Extreme Weather in Chicago

Chicagoans are no strangers to extreme weather! The Chicago climate comes with bitterly cold winters and the lake effect can make the already very cold winter feel colder thanks to the wind-chill factor.

The winter of 2013-2014, for example, brought relentless cold and snow to the region. Even though there was no major snowstorm that season, Chicagoland received over 67 inches of snow – and that’s not even a record!

Chicago experiences extreme snowstorms, blizzards, and sub-zero temperatures on occasion, but some winters are worse than others. One of the most infamous was the 1967 Chicago blizzard which brought 36.5 inches of snow between January 26 and February 5 – an entire season’s worth. It was bad enough that some homes had their roofs collapse under the weight of the snow.

Chicago may also experience extreme heat. During the summer in Chicago, the temperature can reach dangerous levels thanks to a heat island effect and a high heat index. The famous Chicago Heatwave of 1995 killed 739 people when the official temperature reached 106°F but high humidity made the heat index up to 20°F higher than actual air temperatures.

Best Time to Visit Chicago

The best time to visit Chicago is between April and May for warm but not hot temperatures and minimal rain or between September and October when the rain also tends to be light and temperatures still allow you to enjoy the outdoors. These months also coincide with some of the most popular festivals and events without the huge crowds of summer.

Just be aware that early spring weather in Chicago is unpredictable. You may get winter weather still in March and early April. During the height of summer, you can enjoy concerts and outdoor festivals as well as the beach, but the heat and humidity can be oppressive.

Chicago may be notorious for its cold winters, but you definitely get used to the cold while living in Chicago. The city also experiences all four seasons with plenty of warm weather and fall colors! Are you sold on experiencing the climate in Chicago year-round? Call Federal Companies for a free moving estimate ahead of relocating to Chicagoland.

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