Dear Tom,
Do you track the number of days with sub-32 lows? If so, what are the statistics?
—Jeff Jameson Lisle
Dear Jeff,
We certainly do track that metric, and Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski gave us the rundown. Spanning the city’s entire climate record dating back to 1871, Chicago has averaged 110 days each year with a low temperature below freezing. That number increases to 115 days annually since the city’s official thermometer was moved inland away from the lakefront in 1942. In recent years since 2000, that annual number has dropped slightly to 112. Wachowski noted that 1887 logged the most days with subfreezing lows with 144, while the fewest occurred in 1998 with just 79. Recent years have been quite variable, just 95 in 2021 and 92 in 2020, but 131 in 2013,130 in 2014, 127 in 2018, and 122 in 2019..