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Chicago's Winterless Streaks Continue Despite Blizzard

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
December 26, 2012, 2:38:50 AM EST

While its record snow drought ended with Thursday's blizzard, several other of Chicago's winterless weather streaks remain unbroken as the city once again escaped significant snow and cold.

The worst of the blizzard bypassed Chicago to the north and west, but the city still picked up 0.2 of an inch of snow late Thursday.

That was enough to end Chicago's record stretch of 290 consecutive days without measurable snowfall officially. The previous record was 280 days set in 1994.

Thursday also marked the latest in a winter season that Chicago has received measurable snowfall, a distinction recently held by Dec. 16, 1965.

While Chicago's drought in terms of measurable snow is now over, the city still has not received an inch of snow or experienced subfreezing high temperatures--both streaks that are moving up in Chicago's history books.

February 24 marked the last time Chicago saw an inch of snow fall in one calendar day, a stretch of 302 days that includes today. Such a streak is now tied as the sixth longest for Chicago with the streak of 319 days that ended in early January 1940 at the top of the list.

A total of 300 days--including today--has also passed since an inch of snow covered the ground in Chicago, the city's third longest such stretch.

The longest, in Chicago's recorded history, was 313 days, which ended in early January 1940, followed by the 302-day stretch that concluded in early January 1944.

Both of the above streaks will increase through at least this weekend with no snow in the forecast.


A couple of flurries will fly on Christmas Eve, but will likely not bring an inch of snow to the city.

In addition to significant snow, intense cold has also been absent from Chicago so far this winter season.

Today marked the 301st straight day without a subfreezing high temperature in Chicago--bypassing 2004 for the second longest such streak.

Subfreezing high temperatures expected during the middle of the week should prevent this stretch from challenging 1878 and its 308 days for the top spot.

The latest that Chicago has recorded a subfreezing high temperature in any winter season was on Jan. 1, 1924.

Today also marks the 345th day (not consecutively) that temperatures have reached or exceeded the freezing mark this year, making 2012 tied with several other years for the fifth most such days in a year. At the top of that list is the year 1931 and its 355 days.

This year is challenging 1921 for Chicago's warmest year on record. The average temperature so far this year has been 55.4 degrees, compared to the average of 54.5 degrees in 1921.

Record keeping in Chicago began in 1871 and moved to O'Hare International Airport, the current official weather observation site, in 1980.

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