What is the coldest autumn ever recorded in the Chicago area?
Michael J. Kitzinger, Elgin
The answer lies at the beginning of Chicago’s weather records — Nov. 1, 1870. Chicago weather historian Frank Wachowski informed us that the city’s first full meteorological autumn, the September-November period in 1871 with an average temperature of 47.9 degrees, is the coldest of record. Runners-up were the autumns of 1872 and 1875, both averaging 48.5 degrees. Ranking as fourth-coldest was autumn 1976 at 48.6 degrees. All three months in autumn 1871 averaged below normal. The season’s highest temperature was 87 on both Sept. 4 and 5, while the lowest was 9 on Nov. 23. To date, this autumn, despite the recent cold snap, ranks only in the top 40 coldest, averaging about 50.5 degrees through mid-November.