CHICAGO (WBBM) – If you think December was cold and snowy, you are correct. But an expert on Illinois’ climate says it wasn’t particularly wet, despite all the white stuff.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts Reports
Chicago recorded 16.2 inches of snow during the month of December, at its official reporting station, O’Hare Airport. As snowy as that sounds, it was far from the heaviest totals in the state. Champaign-Urbana recieved a bit more than 20 inches, while 19.2. inches blanketed Rockford and Peoria, and 18.1 fell in the Bloomington-Normal area.
That snow may have been back-breaking to shovel at time, but it didn’t add up to much in the way of actual precicipation. Even after factoring in rain at the end of the month, Chicago only received 2.35 inches of precipitation.
Statewide it was even drier — only 1.8 inches of actual precipitation.
“Winter is often the driest time of the year in Illinois,” said Illinois State Water Survey climatologist Jim Angel.
Chicago was colder than the rest of the state on average, as well. Statewide the average was 24, 5.8 degrees below normal. At O’Hare, the average was 22.5 degrees, 4.9 degrees below normal.
One reason the cold may have seemed more brutal is what preceded it. Angel said that between March and November, temperatures ran an average of nearly four degrees above normal.
Long-term forecasters did not predict the cold spell. The National Weather Service predicted near-normal temperatures and snowfall, but Angel said with two months left before the thaw begins, “anything can happen.”