Columbus has weather that is a mix between what is expected in many other Midwestern states and the humid climate of a coastal area. The city is located in a relatively flat region but has enough nearby water to become very humid during different times of the year. The most distinguishing feature of the weather is the unpredictability of conditions especially during the spring and fall. Columbus is not located in the path of any of the major factors that affect the weather although winds and the jet stream do sometimes force air from Canada and the Great Lakes region into the area.
The average high temperatures in the summer are around 85 degrees Fahrenheit with nighttime lows around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is frequently accompanied by high humidity and a week or more of rain each month. These conditions can make the city feel warmer than the actual air temperatures because of the heat index. Travelers who are visiting Columbus during the summer should pack clothes for warm weather, sunscreen and an umbrella. A long sleeve shirt and pants might also be useful if the season has been trending towards cooler temperatures.
The winters in Columbus can be cold and snowy. The city receives an average of two feet of snow each year mainly in December, January and February. The average highs during the day in the winter hover just above freezing and drop to as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Conditions on sidewalks and roads can become icy during this period. Freezing rains and melting snow contribute to this problem. Visitors who come to Columbus in the winter should dress warmly and should bring along gloves and a hat. Dressing in layers will make it possible to move comfortably between indoor and outdoor spaces by just removing a coat and sweater.
The spring and fall in Columbus are the two best seasons to visit the city. The average temperatures are very comfortable during the day and a little chilly at night. One of the largest challenges in visiting Columbus during the spring or fall is the potential for unexpected rainfall or other severe weather. Very heavy downpours and thunderstorms have been known to cause flooding in the city that could make it hard to travel for a few hours or an entire day. Part of this unpredictability is because of the lake effect precipitation that comes from the Great Lakes region. Columbus is sometimes subject to high winds and tornadoes. A few tornadoes have actually hit the city and caused damage although the majority of the tornadoes that form dissipate before reaching the downtown area.