What were the warmest and coldest years in Chicago history?

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Dear Tom,

What was the average temperature for all of 2016 and what is normal for a year in Chicago? What were the warmest and coldest years in Chicago history?

Gladys, Chicago

Dear Gladys,

Chicago’s current average annual temperature, based on climate records from 1981-2010 is 49.9 degrees. Last year was nearly 2.5 degrees above normal, averaging 52.3 degrees. Over the 146 years of Chicago’s climate records the city’s annual temperatures have ranged from 45.1 degrees in 1875 to 54.5 degrees in 2012. The city’s coolest year, 1875, is the only year to never record a 90-degree day, while 2012, the warmest year, logged 46 days of 90-degrees or higher. Overnight lows are as important as afternoon highs when determining average temperature. In 1875 there were only four nights with lows in the 70s, while 2012 recorded 29.