What year ranked as the January with the lowest percentage of possible sunshine in Chicago?

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Dear Tom,
What year ranked as the January with the lowest percentage of possible sunshine, and how does January 2021 stack up so far?

Kevin D. Chicago

Dear Kevin,
We passed your question on to Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski, who has been measuring and documenting Chicago’s sunshine since the 1950s. Wachowski reported that the city’s least sunny January occurred in 1998, a month that logged just 20 percent of the possible sunshine, well below the 42 percent normal. This January has certainly started out in a dreary mode with just 21 percent of the possible sunshine through the first 12 days. The month is currently on about the same pace as 1998, but with nearly three weeks to go, a multi-day stretch of sunny weather could easily raise those dreary totals. The city has experienced some sunny Januaries, most notably 1922, a month that received 73 percent of its possible sun.

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