Where does this year rank in terms of Chicago’s cloudiest years?

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Dear Tom,

You often refer to percent of possible sunshine. This year has been very cloudy. Where does it rank in terms of the city’s cloudiest years?

Randall Mix
Round Lake

Dear Randall,

We posed your question to Chicago weather observer Frank Wachowski, who has been documenting the city’s sunshine since the 1950s. Wachowski noted that through the end of October, 2019 has logged just 48 percent of its possible sunshine, just one percent higher than 1992’s full-year total of 47 percent, the city’s cloudiest year on record. That year sunshine was greatly reduced by air born volcanic debris from the 1991 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines. For comparison, the city’s normal annual percent of possible sunshine is 54 percent and the city’s sunniest years were 1895 logging 66 percent and 1988 with 65 percent.


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