Chicago’s lack of snow in January, February breaks 146-year record

Chicagoans bundle up for chilly temperatures downtown
Chicagoans bundle up for chilly temperatures downtown March 9. (Angel Idowu/MEDILL)

By Angel Idowu

For the first time in 146 years, Chicago’s weather map has officially reached record-breaking limits, with very limited snowfall during January and February.

Known to have frosty temperatures during the winter months, the lack of snowfall is a shocking sight for Chicagoans who are used to seeing the city blanketed in snow.

“It seems like it’s starting to snow less and less every year,” said Alex Martin,  21, from the Chatham neighborhood on the South Side. “I’m loving the warmer weather, but I can’t help but think about what this means for global warming.”

Meteorologist for the National Weather Service Gino Izzi verifies that while the city has seen some snowfall in these past two months, the lack of snow that has stuck to the ground is what makes this moment record breaking.

“We take pictures to capture the snowfall for each day at 6 a.m.,” Izzi said. “So during the months of January and February, there were no days with official measurable snow of more than 2 inches.”

Chicago natives said they have been shocked by the warm temperatures but haven’t let that stop them from taking full advantage the amenities that warm weather brings.

The Original Rainbow Cone opened its doors Thursday, and while the customers were few, there were still people eager to take advantage of the lack of snow while getting their ice cream fix.

Every year, the ice cream shop closes from the end of October to the beginning of March. The manager said Chicago’s frigid winters prevent any type of business during that time.

“Being closed during those couple of winter months, we post on Facebook to keep people engaged,” said Brian Feltman, manager of the ice cream shop. “So when it finally opens, they’re all still coming even when it’s 20 degrees out like today.”

But Izzi said that even with the weather being a bit warmer, Chicago could still see heavy snowstorms.

“The lack of snowfall doesn’t mean there aren’t any storms coming,” Izzi said. “March and April are known to hold some Illinois’ top 10 biggest snowstorms. In the past few years, about four have occurred in April.”

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to drop to the low 20s, with a potential chance of snowfall Saturday and Sunday.

Photo at top: Chicagoans bundle up Thursday for chilly temperatures downtown.  (Angel Idowu/MEDILL)