Has Chicago ever had a colder March than February and/or 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This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated.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,
Has Chicago ever had a colder March than February and/or January?
— Chuck Kennell

Dear Chuck,

Based on the current 1981-2010 normals, Chicago’s average monthly temperature climbs more than 14 degrees from 23.8 degrees in January to 27.7 degrees in February and to 37.9 degrees in March. But given the great variability of Chicago’s continental climate, there have been multiple instances of “out-of-sync” monthly temperatures. Checking temperature records dating back to 1871, January has averaged warmer than March five times, most recently in 1960. February has turned out to be warmer than March in eight years, the last time in 1984. Remarkably, in four years, 1880, 1906, 1933 and 1960, January was warmer than both February and March.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.