Meteorological winter began on December 1. For climatologists and meteorologists , the seasons run in four month chunks to enable a consistent day count to the seaons for record keeping. Many people usually think it is winter if it is cold outside with the heat running or there is snow falling/on the ground. The graphic shows the snow cover over the country this morning.
For Chicago area residents, it certainly has not felt much like a "typical" winter so far. Of course none of our weather over the past year could be thought of as "typical.'" There is no snow other than some trace amounts on the ground for most of the metro area, and we have yet to have a day below freezing. NWS Chicago has an excellent article on their web site describing the records that are falling due to our lack of snow and cold.
It had earlier looked like this past Sunday would be our first day of below freezing temperatures. It did not turn out that way. The wind coming from the southwest was blowing over bare and unfrozen ground bringing up enough warm air to allow the high to go above freezing. Today, New Years day, will actually turn out to be our first below freezing day. While the sun is out and the ground is still bare and unfrozen, the northwest winds are coming in from a descent snowpack to our northwest to allow the chill to flow over the area.
With the first day below freezing, the record string will stop tied with January 1, 1924 as the latest below freezing day. We will set a new record at 310 consecutive days of no freezing. The other event of note is the lack of snow, only .9 inches officially so far this winter season. A few flurries are "possible" late Wednesday night and again Saturday. With no one inch snows in sight, we will set some new records for latest one inch snowfall. Truly amazing.
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