Chicago's Lack of Cold and Snow Breaking All-Time Records (Updated Jan 18th)

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Chicago has yet to have any meaningful cold or snow so far this winter, and it's beginning to approach the point where it's not just highly unusual, but actually record breaking. The first day of the 2012-13 winter with a sub-freezing high was Jan 1st, which ties the record for the latest first sub-freezing high on record in Chicago!

Rank

Date

1

Jan 1, 2013

 

Jan 1, 1924

3

Dec 28, 1971

4

Dec 25, 1918

5

Dec 22, 1998

Chicago also set a new record for the most number of consecutive days without a sub-freezing high temperature. Here are the top 5 longest stretches without a high temperature below freezing...

 Rank

# of Days

End of Streak

1

310

12/31/2012

2

308

  12/15/1878

3

300

12/12/2004

4

290

12/9/2011

5

289

12/24/1918

In 2012 there were 354 days with high temperatures at or above freezing in Chicago, which ranks as the 2nd greatest number of days in a year with highs at or above freezing and just 1 day short of the all time record number of days! Here are the top 5 most number of days in a year for Chicago to reach at least 32F for a high temperature...

 Rank

# of Days

Year

1

355

1931

2

354

2012

3

353

2006

4

348

1990

5

346

1987

While a few areas in the city have seen a bit more snow, officially Chicago has only picked up 1.3" through Jan 18th and has yet to have a calendar day this season with at least an inch of snow. Currently, the streak of consecutive days without an inch of snowfall stands at 329, with the last 1" or greater calendar day snowfall back on February 24th 2012. This now ranks as first place on the top 5 list. Here are the top 5 longest streaks of without at least an inch of snowfall...

 Rank

# of Days

End of Streak

1

 329+

01/18/2013+

2

319

  01/06/1940

3

315

 12/07/1958

4

307

 12/30/1931

5

305

01/15/2002

While the stretch of days without an inch of snow grows, Chicago has also marched up the rankings for the latest first 1 inch snowfall of the season. As of January 18th, this season has established a new record. Based on the forecast through the weekend, this season may  continue to extend the record through the weekend. Here are the top 10 latest first calendar day snowfalls of at least an inch...

Rank

Date

1

 Jan 18, 2013+

2

Jan 17, 1899

3

Jan 16, 2002

4

Jan 15, 1890

5

Jan 14, 1937

6

Jan 11, 1983

7

Jan 8, 1944

8

Jan 7, 1940

9

Jan 6, 1913

10

Jan 5, 1994

This record has been broken.

Calendar day snowfall records of an inch or greater, while impressive, do not account for snow that may cross the calendar day and add up to an inch. Looking at the number of consecutive days without a snow depth measured of at least 1" really tells the story of just how unusual it is for Chicago to go this long without the ground being covered in at least an inch of snow. Through Jan 18th, it has been 327 days since Chicago has officially had an inch of snow on the ground, making this the longest stretch of its kind on record in Chicago! Here are the top 5 longest stretches without a snow depth of at least an inch...

 Rank

# of Days

End of Streak

1

  327+

   01/18/2013+

2

 313

 01/06/1940

3

302

01/07/1944

4

296

12/12/1988

(tie)

296

12/14/1946

Through January 5th, Chicago only picked up 1.3" of snow for the season. This ranked as the 4th latest that Chicago has made it into the year without having even picked up an inch total of snowfall. Here are the top 5 latest dates on record for reaching a season to date snowfall of 1 inch...

Rank

Date

1

Jan 8, 1944

2

Jan 7, 1940

3

Jan 6, 1913

4

Jan 5, 2013

5

 Dec 31, 1924

 



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