What was the weather like from weather records in 1870?

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Dear Tom,

You have often said that Chicago weather records started in 1870; what was the weather like for the earliest report?

Stephen Verhaeren
Palos Park

Dear Stephen,

On October 15, 1870 the U.S. Army Signal Corps established a weather office in downtown Chicago at 181 W. Washington where it remained until October 8, 1871 when it was abandoned during the Chicago Fire. The city’s first official weather observation was taken there on November 1, 1870 and Chicago weather historian Frank Wachowski provided these numbers-high 59,low 40 and no precipitation. Since then, the city’s official weather site has been relocated numerous times eventually reaching its current location at O’Hare International Airport. All observations were manually taken by weather observers until February, 1996 when the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS)was installed.


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