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This Winter Has Been 5.4 Degrees Warmer Than Usual, With Less Than Half The Snow

Chicago's famous for its ultra-chilly, snowy winters, but this one has been kinda ... unimpressive?

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DOWNTOWN — Winter’s almost over — and it hasn’t been too bad of one.

Though Chicago’s famous for ultra-chilly, snowy winters, this season has been mild with warmer temperatures and less snow than average. And meteorological winter ends on Feb. 29, which means there’s not much time left for a last seasonal hurrah.

“It’s been a mild winter for the Chicago area,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Tyler Roys.

From Dec. 1 — when meteorological winter begins — through Friday, Chicago has been about 5.4 degrees warmer than normal for this season, Roys said. That’s a difference most people would notice, he said.

The warmer average is partly due to the fact Chicago hasn’t had a “prolonged period of true cold weather where you’re talking single-digit highs, double-digit negative lows,” Roys said.

“There really hasn’t been anything in that regard,” Roys said.

In fact, Chicago’s had just five days this season where the low temperature fell below 10 degrees, Roys said.

The coldest day of the year so far was Valentine’s Day, or Feb. 14, when the high temperature was 15 degrees and the low was 2 degrees below zero.

Daytime high temperatures have been 5-7 degrees higher than normal, but it’s the nights that have been particularly warm, Roys said. While January in Chicago typically sees nighttime low temperatures of 16-17 degrees, much of the month’s lows were in the 20s and even 30s.

It hasn’t been a snowy winter, either.

While the normal snowfall from Dec. 1 through Feb. 20 is 36 inches, the city has received just 16.9 inches of snow so far this season, Roys said. That means Chicago’s had less than half the amount of snow it typically does so far for winter.

It’s the least-snowiest winter since 2000-01, when there were just 8.2 inches of snow. The recordholder is 1920-21, when there was just 3.9 inches of snow during the winter.

Of course, Chicago’s been known to get snow as late as the end of May — so even though winter’s almost over, the weather isn’t sure to improve anytime soon.

Credit: Courtesy Eduardo Vea Keating
Eduardo Vea Keating created a snow mural at Sawyer and Fullerton avenues in January 2019.