What is normal for sub-32-degree highs for this cold-weather season?

Dear Tom,

I see we reached 40 sub-32 degree highs for this cold weather season. What is normal in this category?

Thanks,
Patrick Carry
Waukegan

Dear Patrick,
Actually, 40 days in a cold season with highs failing to reach the freezing mark is the city’s long-term average. Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski verified that information and provided some background details. Citing records back to the 1871-72 winter, the number of days with sub-freezing highs has ranged from 78 in the 1903-04 winter to just eight in the winter of 1877-78. The 40 days this season is the most here since 2014-15 when the city logged 59. While, it too early to close the books on this winter, each passing day lessens the likelihood of another. The city’s latest occurring sub-freezing high was 26 on April 17, 1875 and the earliest fall occurrence was on September 25, 1887.

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