As meteorological winter 2022 begins a persistent La Niña, currently entering its third year, continues to dominate the global weather patterns. A La Niña is identified by a cooling of the equatorial waters off the west coast of South America, as opposed to an El Niño, which is identified by a warming of those same equatorial waters.

December 2022 in Chicago

This December is starting dry with a return to seasonable temperatures, with no immediate signs of any major storms or extremes of either cold or warm weather. That certainly could change as the month progresses, but current projections suggest a “steady as it goes” pattern at least through the first half of the month.

The strong December 1982 El Niño

In December 1982, one of the strongest El Niños ever observed was in place and it resulted in Chicago having an extraordinarily mild and wet December with little snowfall. The Christmas period was marked by record warmth and Christmas Eve thunderstorms, resulting in a “Florida-like” Christmas for the Chicago area and its wettest December on record.

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