What was weather like January, 1998 and did that February turn sunnier?

Ask Tom Why
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Dear Tom,

You’ve told us that this January has been the cloudiest since 1998. What was the weather like that month and did February turn sunnier?

Thanks, Bill V. Schaumburg

Dear Bill,

January 1998 reigns as the city’s dreariest having averaged just 20 percent of its possible sunshine. The month featured 20 totally sunless days including a seven-day stretch from January 2-8, a dismal start to the new year. The month averaged 8.6 degrees above normal. It began extremely mild with highs in the 40s and 50s the first week and all the precipitation falling as rain, then turned seasonable the rest of the month with highs ranging from the 20s to the lower 40s. Unlike this January there was quite a bit of snow with 11 inches during the month, the heaviest a five-inch fall on January 14. The lack of sunshine continued through March with both February and March recording subpar sunshine.

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