A Look Back at January 1979

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT  
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL  
731 PM CST SAT JAN 4 2014
   
..A LOOK BACK AT THE INFAMOUS JANUARY 1979...

 
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK COMPARING OUR CURRENT STREAK OF  
BRUTAL WINTER WEATHER WITH THAT OF THE WINTER BACK IN 1979.  
CERTAINLY THE CURRENT STRETCH OF WEATHER HAS BEEN VERY  
HARSH...BUT STILL PALES IN COMPARISON TO THE DURATION AND  
MAGNITUDE OF WHAT THE WINTER OF 1979 DEALT CHICAGO.  
 
IN JANUARY 1979 CHICAGO HAD 12 DAYS WITH LOWS BELOW  
ZERO...INCLUDING 6 DAYS WITH LOWS AT OR BELOW -10F. JANUARY 1979  
STARTED OFF WITH A LONG STRETCH OF BITTERLY COLD CONDITIONS WITH 5  
DAYS IN A ROW WHERE THE HIGH TEMPERATURE FAILED TO CLIMB ABOVE 5F.  
THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE THAT MONTH WAS 12.4F WHICH IS MORE THAN 11  
DEGREES BELOW AVERAGE AND STILL RANKS AS THE 5TH COLDEST JANUARY  
EVER IN CHICAGO. DURING JANUARY 1979 CHICAGO SAW A WHOPPING 116  
HOURS WITH A BELOW ZERO TEMPERATURE...WHICH MEANS MORE THAN 15  
PERCENT OF THE TIME THE TEMPERATURE WAS BELOW ZERO.  
 
IT WASNT JUST THE BITTER COLD THAT GAVE JANUARY 1979 ITS  
REPUTATION...IT WAS ALSO THE SNOW. THERE WERE 17 DAYS WITH  
MEASURABLE SNOWFALL THAT MONTH WITH A TOTAL OF 40.4 INCHES OF  
SNOWFALL RECORDED WHICH STILL STANDS AS THE 2ND SNOWIEST JANUARY  
ON RECORD. ON JANUARY 13 1979 CHICAGO HAD 16.5 INCHES OF SNOW. TO  
THIS DATE, THE RECORD FOR THE GREATEST AMOUNT OF SNOW EVER ON THE  
GROUND IN CHICAGO STILL DATES BACK TO JANUARY 14TH 1979 WHEN 29  
INCHES OR NEARLY 2 AND A HALF FEET OF SNOW WAS ON THE GROUND.  
 
BACK IN 1979 THE WEATHER WAS JUST AS HARSH IN ROCKFORD, WITH 17  
DAYS FEATURING BELOW ZERO LOW TEMPERATURES, INCLUDING 11 DAYS 10  
BELOW ZERO OR COLDER AND 3 DAYS COLDER THAN 20 BELOW ZERO.  
ROCKFORD HAD 26.1 INCHES OF SNOW THAT JANUARY, WHICH FELL ON 12  
DAYS THAT SAW MEASURABLE SNOWFALL, INCLUDING 9.5 INCHES ON JANUARY  
13. LIKE CHICAGO, ROCKFORDS RECORD SNOW DEPTH IS 27 INCHES SET  
BACK ON THE 16TH OF THAT INFAMOUS JANUARY. TWICE DURING THAT MONTH  
ROCKFORD HAD A LOW TEMPERATURE OF 24 BELOW ZERO, WHICH IS JUST 3  
DEGREES SHY OF THE COLDEST TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED IN ROCKFORD!  
 
IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT THIS MONTH HAS REALLY JUST BEGUN AND IT  
IS POSSIBLE THAT WE CAN STILL GIVE 1979 A RUN FOR ITS MONEY ON  
HARSHNESS...BUT BEYOND WEDNESDAY IT APPEARS AS THOUGH THERE WILL  
BE AT LEAST SOME MODERATION OF TEMPERATURES AND A COUPLE DAYS  
BREAK FROM SNOW.  
$$
 
IZZI  


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