USA: Midwest

North America

About The Midwest

Sara and John say...

Huge annual temperature swings and distinct seasons typify the weather of the US Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

If you’re looking for four distinct seasons, then the Midwest is the place for you. With up to a 100ºF swing across the year, from bone-biting cold in the winter, and plenty of the white stuff, to high heat and humidity in mid-summer, no outdoor activity is off the list if you pick the right time of year.

Lake-effect snow brought by a surge of cold air over warmer Great Lakes water, is common towards in late fall and winter especially along the shores of Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin, and further east in Pennsylvania and New York. Between 50 and 75mm (2-3 inches) of snow can fall in an hour in a narrow, but intense, band. In fact, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the considered to be the snowiest non-mountainous place in the US, with a record 9.9m in a season. While the snowfalls bring beauty, and school-closures, larger winter storms can bring widespread disruption, with ice storms regularly bringing down power lines and tree branches.

The bridge seasons of spring and autumn can be among the best times to visit, with daytime highs in the late teens or early 20sºC, depending on how close you are to high summer. Be prepared for rain though, it’ll typically fall on a few days each week across the Midwest.

You might think being so far north in the US, that summer temperatures would stay in double digits. Not so, with high-summer temps regularly climbing up to over 100ºF and high humidity to boot. At this time of year, the shore’s the best place to be, with the Great Lakes offering some fantastic beach options.

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