Dear Tom,

With global warming occurring, do you think that Chicago will ever record an 80-degree temperature in December?

Ken Richards

Dear Ken,

Meteorologists have learned to “never say never”. The weather always surprises, and as long-time Chicago weather historian and climatologist Frank Wachowski always says- “records are made to be broken”; so given the right combination of meteorological conditions, a December 80 could occur, especially early in the month. Since 1870 there has never been a December 80-degree day in the Chicago area, and there have only been three December occurrences of highs in the 70s, all three early in the month. The dates of the city’s three December 70s: 71 on Dec. 2, 1982, 71 on Dec. 3, 1970, and 70 on Dec. 3, 2012. There has never been a 70-degree day in January in Chicago, and the first occurrence in February was logged on Feb. 11, 1999, when the mercury peaked at 70. The span between fall’s last and spring’s first 80 spans more than four months. The latest fall 80 took place on Nov. 1, 1950, when the high reached 81. The earliest in spring 80 occurred on March 3, 1974, when the temperature topped out at 80.