Dear Tom,

Has Chicago ever experienced a January where the mercury did not fall below freezing?

Sally V. Villa Park

Dear Sally,

The answer is no, and, in fact, no January has even come close. Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski checked the record books dating back to 1871 and noted that January 1880 leads the pack with just 16 days dropping to 32 or lower. That January, the city’s warmest on record, averaged a record 16 degrees above normal, and all 31 days logged above-freezing highs, the lowest being 33 on Jan. 28. The warmest days were 61 on the 11th and 60 on the ninth, and back-to-back highs of 59 on the third and fourth.