Chicago Records No Snow in January and February for the First Time in 146 Years

Written by Lorraine Chow and reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Chicago—a city well known for its windy and snowy winters—is experiencing some unusually warm weather. For the first time in 146 years, there was no documented snow on the ground in January and February, according to the local National Weather Service.

January and February are usually the coldest months of the year. As NBC News noted, the city usually averages more than 40 inches of snow per winter and prepares for months to handle with the onslaught of snow with its fleet of snow plows and salt trucks that service more than 280 snow routes.

But the last measurable day of snow was on Christmas Day when two inches covered the ground. In fact, from Feb. 17-22, Chicago set new winter records with six consecutive days of temperatures in the high 60s to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Flowers are even emerging in some areas, and that’s not a good thing. Early blossoms could wilt before they can be pollinated or could be vulnerable to frost if the temperatures should drop, which would be devastating for fruit growers.

While many Chicagoans were probably very happy to skip out on shoveling sidewalks for these past two months, some worry that the freak weather is related to climate change.

“This is occurring against a backdrop of a changing climate,” WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling told the Chicago Tribune. “I think the door is open to additional unusual weather events as we go forward.”

Chicago is not alone in seeing bizarre winter weather. Meteorologists have seen dozens of heat records broken across the U.S. in February. In Oklahoma, temperatures hit a record 99 degrees Fahrenheit, more than 40 degrees above the average February high. Texas, Kansas and Colorado also recorded all-time highs.

Other climate scientists also say that warm temperatures and snow-droughts such as these could be due to natural weather variances that have nothing to do with climate change.

That said, the National Weather Service forecasts a slight chance of snow in Chicago this Thursday as severe thunderstorms are expected to move through Illinois this week.

Photo Credit: Roman Boed/Flickr

64 comments

Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thanks for posting.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld9 months ago

Heather G.,
Yes, this winter was a snowier than usual one for both coasts, but a warmer, drier one for the interior.

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heather g
heather g9 months ago

The winter weather in British Columbia has also varied a lot this year. We experienced a good few clear days with blue skies, but after that more snow than usual...

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Angela K
Angela K9 months ago

thank you for sharing

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Philippa P
Philippa Powers9 months ago

Interesting. Could it be climate change?

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Paul Carter
Paul Carter9 months ago

The South of the UK has also missed out on snow so far, we have hardly seen any frost, flowers are blooming earlier than I have known. It appears that ice caps are melting faster than ever. Thank god the POTUS has pronounced that their is no such thing as climate change or I might have started believing all the scientists who contradict him.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld9 months ago

Natasha,
The entire eastern seaboard is about to feel winter's full fury.

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natasha s
Past Member 9 months ago

Looks like the entire eastern seaboard has had a very unique winter.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S9 months ago

interesting article for me....thank you

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Lisa H
Lisa H9 months ago

The warm temps earlier and the cold temps now (plus the snow!) is bound to kill the the flowers and blooms on trees that are out now. Fantastic.This is no hoax!

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