Abstract

A study of summer precipitation conditions in the Chicago area sought to discern evidence of urban influences on precipitation processes and rainfall magnitude by investigating cloud, radar echo, rainfall and thunderstorm data. The rainfall studies identified an area of 15% greater rainfall in central Chicago, considered largely a result of urban influences. The degree of change is less than found at St. Louis, possibly a result of the inhibiting lake influences at Chicago. With respect to the placement of the rain change, the synoptic weather conditions when rain changes occur (squall lines and zones), and the tendency for rain changes to exist in heavier rainfall conditions, the Chicago findings reveal good agreement with those at St. Louis. Limited causative studies suggest an urban enhancement of convective clouds over Chicago and southern Lake Michigan during late afternoon, and case studies of radar echo behavior showed maximum echo intensification repeatedly occurred over the city and at higher elevations than in non-urban cells. Results suggest urban enhancement of strong convection although more study is needed.

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