Chicago, IL

Chicago Breaks Record for Latest First Snowfall with Two Others in Jeopardy

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

It was predicted to be a snowy winter, but as of December 29, only a dusting of snow has fallen on the Windy City
Winter Skyline (CC BY-ND 2.0 Weber/flickr

With La Nina, although more precipitation was predicted, the warmer temperatures in the Chicago area have ensured what precipitation we did get didn't fall as snow, with the exception of a light dusting with no accumulation which occurred on December 28. This has remained the case as we approach the New Year. Before this year, the record for the latest snowfall in Chicago, at least since 1909 when such events were recorded, was December 20. This occurred in 2012, a record broken as of Monday, last week.

The average first snowfall for Chicago, is November 18, based on records kept by the National Weather Service. This means that we are over a month late for snow this year. Last year, another La Nina winter, the first snowfall in Chicago was November 24th just two days before Thanksgiving, although it only amounted to .7 inches. March 15th was the last time the Windy City saw measurable snow in 2021, making it over nine months ago.

This is the first time Chicago has gone through the fall without any accumulating snow. With temperatures in the 40's and 50's on many days in the last couple of weeks, there were few hopes for a white Christmas in the Windy City. As the holiday arrived, it was clear that there would be no snow for Christmas this year.

Chicago may break another winter record as well. The most days without measurable snow in the city is 290, also set back in 2012. As of today, we are at 289 days without snow, 1 day from tying the record, and 2 days from breaking it. And it seems, from what meteorologists say, that that record is also practically in the bag.

Yet another Windy City winter weather record could also be at risk of being broken on January 25. That is the latest that Chicago has had a first snow measuring at least one inch, a record reached back in January of 2013. While snow fell on the city yesterday, given the warmer temperatures, it melted as soon as it hit the ground so there was no measurable accumulation.

According to AccuWeather meteorologists, Chicago may not see any appreciable snow until after we ring in 2022. Weather updates indicate that there is an 80 percent chance of scattered snow showers on January 1, with accumulation of up to an inch possible in some areas.

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