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2011 Could Become Wettest Year On Record

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CHICAGO (CBS) — If it had been colder outside on Wednesday, Chicago might have ended up with 14 inches of snow on the ground.

But with unseasonably warm conditions, we had all-day rain showers instead, making what is already the third wettest year in Chicago on record a little wetter still.

CBS 2 Meteorologist Megan Glaros says as of Thursday morning, as the rain made its way east out of the area, the total rainfall for 2011 in Chicago was 49.20 inches.

The only years with greater totals are 1983, when 49.35 inches of rain fell, and 2008, when 50.86 inches fell. Glaros says this year is soon likely to surpass 1983 and become the second wettest year on record – if not the first.

Meanwhile, there’s no snow in the forecast until next week, but temperatures will be dropping throughout the day to levels more appropriate for the season.

As of the 5 a.m. hour, it felt more like late September than mid-December, with the mercury ringing in at 53 degrees at O’Hare International Airport, 55 degrees at Midway International Airport, and a comfortable 57 degrees in Gary.

But Glaros says even if you feel hot in your winter coat in the early morning, you would be well-advised to bring it along with you anyway.

By 6:30 a.m., temperatures had already dropped into the 40s, as a cold front made its way toward the area and clouds decreased.

By 5 p.m., the temperature is expected to be in the upper 30s.

And on Friday, it will feel like winter again, with a high of 35 and a low of 25 – much closer to average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, if you prefer the holiday season with a lane where snow is glistenin’, you might get your wish on Tuesday of next week – although the lane might also have slush that gets your shoes all wet.

Flurries mixed with rain are expected on Tuesday, with a high of 40 degrees.