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Lake Michigan Wind Reports

The wind reports listed below will help you find good wind forecasts due to the "lake effect" of Lake Michigan and the surrounding land during the summer kitesurfing season.

NOAA Central Region Directory of Airport Readings
Weather Underground Great Lakes Marine Forecast
NDCB Wind Meter located at the Crib
NDCB Wind Meter located at Michigan City
Weather Underground
Intellicast's Windcast map for Tomorrow
Unisys Weather Map
LakeMichiganWeather text links


North Avenue Beach - Castaways
Loyola University
South Milwaukee Yacht Club
Holland Michigan - Spyglass


Canadian Weather Carribean Weather Europe Wind
Great Lakes Marine Windfinder - Carribean Sea Funky Wind
Weather - Carribean Sea Windfinder - Europe
Florida Weather Puerto Rico Texas
Tampa Bay Noaa Wind Wave Report South Padre Island
Current Conditions Weather Underground
Weather Underground Magic Seaweed
Accuweather MyForecast

The Lake Effect

You've heard the phrase "Lake Effect"....so what does it mean? Generally, the weather around the Chicago area beaches is affected by whatıs commonly called the ılake effectı. Lake Michigan is one of the largest lakes in the world. It contains a huge mass of water that affects the incoming weather around it. In the summer, the lake water is typically cooler than land at mid-day, and the opposite is true in the winter. This causes pressure changes which affect the temperature of the air and the direction and strength of the wind. It could be blowing 15 mph in the city of Chicago, but Montrose beach will be dead calm, or the opposite could be true, depending on the conditions.


This is why its important to understand the weather here, and learn the good geographical spots before you drive all over trying to find a beach with wind. A firm technical grasp of the forces that work for, or against, kitesurfing, will help you and your pals find wind on those summer days.


Lake Michigan runs North-South, pretty much. As jet stream weather moves in and the sun heats up the surrounding land mass, interesting changes can occur. Usually, as the lake cools the air, it falls, creating denser air over the center of the lake. This results in a high pressure center that pushes air outwards in 360 degrees. Maybe youıve noticed boats on the lake leaning over with sails full out on the water, and there barely being any wind on the beach. This is a result of the pressure system the lake tends to generate in the summer. There are wind ılinesı that form, where the wind increases out off the shore over the water. If the pressure system over the lake is working against the current wind direction over land, the winds will cancel each other out at the shoreline. This will provide horrible kitesurfing and windsurfing conditions for you and your pals. Also, the current of the lake water also affects the ıthermal windsı that are generated. It is best to familiarize yourself with the wind patterns of each day, to easily be able to determine in the future which beaches work best under what conditions. Optimally, you want all three working for you, not against you.


For example, if the wind is blowing from the South, and the warmer water is sitting on the Eastern side of the lake, Michigan City and St. Joeseph may not offer good riding conditions due to the wind cancellation and the warm water being nearer the temperature of the land, generating a lesser-strength thermal wind. It may be better to head over to Waukegan, or Illinois State Beach on these conditions, where the wind will be moving more side-shore, and the thermal off the colder lake water will pull the wind toward shore, providing for nice, constant wind all day.


By keeping a close watch on conditions whenever you surf, youıll quickly get the hang of where to go each day thereıs wind for the best conditions. At chicagokitesurfing.com, we have directions to beaches you should keep in mind when Kitesurfing in the Chicago area.


Beaufort Knots km/h m/s Description
0 <1 <1 <0.3 Calm Air
1 1-3 1-5 0.3-1.5 Light Air
2 4-6 6-11 1.6-3.3 Light Breeze
3 7-10 12-19 3.4-5.4 Gentle Breeze
4 11-16 20-28 5.5-7.9 Moderate Breeze
5 17-21 29-38 8.0-10.7 Fresh Breeze
6 22-27 39-49 10.8-13.8 Strong Breeze
7 28-33 50-61 13.9-17.1 Near Gale
8 34-40 62-74 17.2-20.7 Gale Force Wind
9 41-47 75-88 20.8-24.2 Strong Gale
10 48-55 89-102 24.5-28.4 Storm
11 56-63 103-117 28.5-32.6 Strong Storm
12 >63 >117 >32.6 Hurricane Force Wind


Air Temperatures

In terms of the average air temperature for the year, you can reference this graph to view what conditions you'd typically be dealing with:


From the graph, you can see that typically (depending on how thick-skinned you are), your kite surfing season will run from March to November, on the average. That's a pretty good portion of the year, with the highest winds in the spring and the fall seasons.

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