21 May 2009

Yeah, but how's the weather?

Not bad in my view, actually. When a rainy spell sets in, it can really last, and winter is a pretty wet season, but in general the weather has a lot to recommend it, especially over Chicago. The winters don't get very cold, typically not getting below 20, and there's not a lot of snow-- we had our first snow that lasted more than 1 day this past winter, and that's been since 2000. Even better, the summers never get very hot. At the peak, you get about a week of 80 degree weather, but otherwise its somewhere in the 60s and 70s all summer long with no mosquitoes. If it isn't rainy, this yields long and glorious summer days with oddly low humidity, another surprise for a place that can be so rainy.

One odd consequence of the rain and damp is how cold things feel in the winter. For some reason, the dampness penetrates in a way that a mid-westerner isn't used to, and you can really feel chilled to the bone at first. So while your higher-order brain is telling you “feh; it's only a little under freezing-- this is nothing compared to Chicago”, your reptilian brain will be yelling “get inside the warming shelter you moron-- it's freezing!” After a while you get used to it, but you'll be amazed at first at how the temp and how things feel don't add up.

Having said all this, I should note that a lot of the locals gripe about the weather a lot. For instance, they complain that it doesn't actually get hot. I think they would like things to be a lot more like their holidays in Spain or the south of France, but having lived through lots of summers in Chicago and Kansas (phew), I don't think they realize how lucky they are. Such things go both ways, of course: anytime I hear a Chicago friend complain about the CTA, I tell them to shut their pie hole-- they don't know what real transport troubles are like.

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