Climate of Cleveland, Ohio

Climate of Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio, experiences a humid continental climate, specifically a warm summer subtype (Köppen climate classification Dfa). This climate is characterized by four distinct seasons, with cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers. Cleveland is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, which has a moderating effect on the city’s climate. In this comprehensive overview, we will explore various aspects of Cleveland’s climate, including temperature, precipitation, seasonal changes, and how this climate impacts the local environment and daily life.

October at Berea Falls, Cleveland Ohio

General Overview:

According to Citiesplustowns, Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio and is known for its historical significance, cultural attractions, and proximity to the Great Lakes. The city’s climate is influenced by its location along the southern coast of Lake Erie, which can bring both benefits and challenges in terms of weather.


Summer (June – August): Summers in Cleveland are warm and humid. Daytime highs typically range from the upper 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 26-29°C). However, during heatwaves, temperatures can rise into the upper 80s and low 90s°F (around 31-37°C). Nights are milder, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s°F (around 15-24°C). The summer climate is ideal for outdoor activities, and many residents and visitors take advantage of the season to explore the city’s parks, enjoy outdoor concerts, or spend time on the Lake Erie shore.

Fall (September – November): Fall in Cleveland is a season of transition, with gradually cooling temperatures. September offers daytime highs in the 70s°F (around 24-28°C), and as the season progresses, temperatures become milder. By November, daytime highs range from the upper 40s to low 50s°F (around 8-13°C). Nights are cooler, with temperatures in the 40s and 50s°F (around 4-15°C). Fall foliage is a highlight, with trees displaying vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange. The season is perfect for outdoor activities, hiking, and attending local fall festivals.

Winter (December – February): Winters in Cleveland are cold and snowy. Daytime highs typically range from the upper 20s to low 30s°F (around -2 to 1°C). Nights are frigid, with temperatures often dropping into the teens and single digits Fahrenheit (around -9 to -17°C). Snowfall is common during the winter, with monthly averages ranging from 10 to 15 inches (25-38 cm). The city is marked by overcast skies and occasional freezing rain. Winter weather can be challenging, but the city is well-prepared for snow removal and ice management.

Spring (March – May): Spring in Cleveland is marked by gradually warming temperatures. March starts with daytime highs in the 40s and 50s°F (around 4-15°C), and by May, daytime highs reach the upper 50s to low 70s°F (around 14-24°C). Nights are cool but gradually become milder. Spring can bring occasional rain showers as the weather transitions into warmer conditions. It’s an ideal season for outdoor activities, gardening, and enjoying the city’s parks and natural areas.

Cleveland, Ohio, USA downtown city skyline on the Cuyahoga River at twilight.


Cleveland’s climate is characterized by moderate precipitation levels, with some variation between seasons.

Summer: The summer months of June, July, and August are relatively wet, with average monthly precipitation ranging from 3 to 4 inches (76-102 mm). Thunderstorms are common during this season and can bring sporadic heavy rainfall.

Fall: Fall sees a reduction in precipitation compared to summer. September and October typically receive around 2 to 3 inches of rainfall each month, with drier conditions in November.

Winter: Winter in Cleveland is generally wet, with monthly precipitation averages typically around 2 to 3 inches (51-76 mm). Rainfall and snowfall are common during this season, contributing to a seasonal accumulation of snow.

Spring: Spring months, particularly April and May, experience an increase in precipitation. Monthly averages range from 3 to 4 inches (76-102 mm), with rain showers becoming more common. Spring rainfall is essential for replenishing groundwater and sustaining local vegetation.

Lake Effect Snow:

Cleveland is known for experiencing “lake effect snow” during the winter months. This phenomenon occurs when cold air passes over the relatively warmer waters of Lake Erie, causing the air to pick up moisture. As this moist air moves inland, it cools and deposits heavy snowfall in areas downwind of the lake. This effect can lead to significant variations in snow accumulation within the city and its suburbs, with areas closer to the lake often receiving more snow.

Seasonal Changes:

Cleveland’s climate significantly influences various aspects of life, from outdoor activities to local culture and events.

Summer Recreation:* Summers provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy outdoor activities, such as picnics, hiking, water sports, and attending various cultural events. The Lake Erie shore and nearby parks, such as Edgewater Park and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, are popular destinations for relaxation and outdoor entertainment.

Fall Foliage:* Fall is a prime time for leaf-peeping and enjoying the vibrant autumn colors in local parks and natural areas. Cleveland and the surrounding region host various autumn festivals and cultural events to celebrate the season.

Winter Sports:* Winter in Cleveland offers opportunities for winter sports, including ice skating, skiing, and snowshoeing in local parks and recreational areas. Ice fishing is also popular on Lake Erie.

Spring Blooms:* Spring in Cleveland marks the blossoming of trees and flowers, adding color and vibrancy to the city. It’s a time for gardening, outdoor events, and festivals celebrating the season.

Three houses in a Cleveland, Ohio neighborhood.

Climate Impact on Daily Life:

Cleveland’s climate significantly influences daily life, affecting activities, clothing choices, and regional industries.

Winter Preparedness:* Residents are well-prepared for winter weather, with practices for snow removal on driveways and sidewalks. Winter weather can impact transportation and daily routines, but snowfall is generally manageable.

Seasonal Wardrobe:* Wardrobes change with the seasons, with summers calling for light, breathable clothing and winters requiring warm layers, including winter coats, hats, and gloves.

Outdoor Activities:* The climate encourages residents and visitors to engage in various outdoor activities throughout the year, from beach outings in the summer to winter sports in the colder months.

Festivals and Cultural Events:* Cleveland’s culture is influenced by its climate, with various events and festivals celebrating the seasons, including summer music festivals, fall harvest fairs, and spring garden shows.

Cleveland, Ohio, experiences a humid continental climate with distinct seasons, providing a range of outdoor and cultural experiences for residents and visitors. The city’s natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and seasonal changes make it an attractive destination for those seeking both outdoor adventure and cultural enjoyment. While the climate presents some seasonal variations and the potential for challenging winter weather, it enhances the city’s charm and provides opportunities for seasonal activities and celebrations.