Unprecedented Warm Streak in Chicago

March 19, 2012; 6:07 AM ET
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Thousands of record high temperatures have been set as record warmth continues to sprawl across the eastern two-thirds of the country.

But of all the records that are being set from the Plains to the East Coast, the most impressive might just be the historic warmth in Chicago.

On Saturday, the Windy City set a new record for the most number of 80-degree days in March with four when the temperature warmed to 82 degrees during the afternoon at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Saturday was also the fourth consecutive day above 80, which broke the previous record for earliest in the season to have four consecutive 80-degree days. Previously the earliest Chicago has ever had four consecutive 80-degree days was back on April 15-18, 1896.

To add to the record, Chicago also broke the 80-degree mark on Sunday.

Prior to this year, there had only been 10 days in March with highs in the 80s. Therefore on average, Chicago only has an 80-degree high during the month of March just once in about every 14 years.

In fact, the last time Chicago had an 80-degree temperature during the month of March prior to this year was over 22 years ago back on March 12, 1990. The high temperature that day was 81.

It is likely that the streak of consecutive 80-degree days could go as long as six or seven days in a row, depending how warm it gets early this week. AccuWeather.com meteorologists are forecasting highs to be near the 80-degree mark through early next week.

Regardless, record daily high temperatures in Chicago early this week are more than likely to go down. Below is a list of the record high temperatures through Wednesday.

Day Forecast High Record High Year
Monday 80 degrees 78 degrees 1921
Tuesday 81 degrees 76 degrees 1921
Wednesday 80 degrees 77 degrees 1938

As of Sunday, the average monthly temperature for March 2012 was 50.4 degrees, nearly 15 degrees above normal. The warmest March on record occurred in 1910 and then again in 1945 when both averaged 48.6 degrees.

Keep in mind, average daily high temperatures this time of year are in the upper 40s. Overnight lows the past several nights looked more like Chicago's normal daily highs.

With the current pattern setup across the eastern United States, it is likely that the Windy City will shatter their current record warmest Marches.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Bill Deger contributed to the content of this story.

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