When was the last time we had so little snow in January?

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Dear Tom,
I can’t remember a January with so little snow. When was the last time we had so little?
— Joe C., Carol Stream
Dear Joe,
So far, the city has logged a paltry 0.4 inches of snow this month, and if no more were to fall, this January would tie 1989 (most recent) as the city’s fourth least snowiest placing behind January 1928 with 0.2 inches and 1900 and 1934 with 0.3 inches. Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski says that since 1885 there have been only seven times in which January recorded less than an inch of snow, a rare occurrence in the city’s normally snowiest month (normal 10.8 inches). We had Wachowski check the snowfall for the remainder of the winter following those seven times and totals ranged from just 7 inches in 1949 to 33.2 inches in 1900, with an average of about 18 inches, two inches above normal for the remainder of a typical Chicago snow season