Minneapolis is a Midwestern city that has many of the climate attributes of other cities in the region. It is surrounded by a large amount of water including the Mississippi River. The location of the city places it in an area where cold northern weather from Canada and the arctic regularly flows south and lowers temperatures. Visitors to the city should expect to find mostly cool weather although there are some extremes that happen unpredictably every few years. Minneapolis is the coldest of the 50 largest cities in the United States based on average annual temperatures.
The summers in Minneapolis are generally described as being comfortable. The average summer temperature is 73 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest month is July where temperatures average around 82 degrees. Short and infrequent heat waves have been recorded with temperatures as high as 105 degrees. One of the problems that face residents in the summer is the extreme amount of humidity that is present. The heat index on a hot summer day could cause perceived temperatures to be as much as 10 to 15 degrees above the measured air temperature. Visitors arriving in the summer should dress for warm weather but should also bring light long-sleeved clothes in case temperatures drop.
The winters in Minneapolis are colder than most other areas in the lower 48 states. There are no barriers or geological formations to stop arctic winds from reaching the city. Temperatures during the day in the winter average around freezing to just above freezing. Nighttime temperatures are between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Strong winds from Canada often cause extreme wind chills that drop the effective temperature below zero. These temperatures could cause frostbite and other problems after just a few minutes of exposure. Travelers coming to Minneapolis during January should bring heavy coats, sweaters, gloves and hats. There is regular winter snowfall. Good shoes or boots are a necessity in the winter.
Minneapolis is sometimes subject to severe weather events. There is a risk of tornadoes although few have ever approached the city. Strong windstorms or events called derechos sometimes cause problems. The weather in the fall can be unpredictable due to the jet stream. This means strong thunderstorms can form quickly dropping inches of rain on the city in a short time and triggering flash flooding. The winter frequently brings large snowstorms that cause traffic delays and shut down some businesses in the city although municipal workers usually restore order quickly. Travelers should be aware of recent weather patterns in Minneapolis and should always travel with an umbrella in case of a sudden storm.