Who Has the Better Summer? Round 1: Summer Storms

I’m in the midst of my sixth summer in Chicago and starting to feel the twinges of homesickness that always pop up along with the sudden summer thunderstorms and tornado warnings. Chicago, like the rest of the Midwest, has severe summer weather, but not often enough for my taste.

I lived in Milwaukee briefly last year and was kind of lounging around listening to the news one morning, when I heard something about a “water spout on Lake Michigan.” And a moment later, I realized,
I live on Lake Michigan! (Literally – my apartment was across the street from the lakeshore.) And sure enough, a glance out my window was enough to see something completely new (to me) and fascinating.

Photo from the National Weather Service and WISN Studio via mlive.com. 
Read about the water spout here.


Severe summer weather captivates us because we’re so close to but rarely ever in any real danger. (Please note that I do not live in Tornado Alley and while we have had our share of devastating tornadoes, they are rare.) And we’re regularly reminded of the power of nature, of
weather, in a Wisconsin summer. We crave and relish the summer thunderstorms while keeping an ear out for the sirens ushering us to the basement.

When severe weather strikes in Chicago, it’s just not the same. I’ve never really lived somewhere with an enclosed porch. I’ve certainly never lived somewhere with more than a pocket-sized view of the sky. The ramifications of severe weather inconvenience us more in the city than they did in small-town or rural Wisconsin. Chicago thunderstorms inspire annoyance long before any sense of awe.

It’s storming. It’ll take me 45 minutes to get home by train/bus. Do I wait out the storm at work? Do I want to be on the train during the worst of the storm? Will I have to wait for the bus long? 

It’s all much more tiring than fascinating when a thunderstorm strikes Chicagoland. Point Wisconsin.

What do you think, summer storms: yay or nay?