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Streak Of Record Warmth Ends, But Today Was Still A Tie

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Temperatures were already in the upper 60s in the early morning hours on Monday, March 19. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 03/19/12 6:38 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A string of five straight days of record warmth for Chicago ended on Monday, although the high temperature still matched a 91-year-old mark.

CBS 2 Meteorologist Steve Baskerville says records topped out at more than 80 degrees every day from Wednesday to Sunday, but on Monday cloudy skies ended that record warm streak.

However, the high did ready 78 degrees, tying a record set in 1921, and well above the normal temperature of 48 for this day.

CBS 2’s Megan Glaros reports, by 11:20 a.m., the temperature at O’Hare and Midway international airports was already 68 degrees. The temperature in Gary, Ind., had climbed to 72, and in Valparaiso 73.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The National Weather Service says even at 4 a.m. Monday, it was 69 degrees in downtown Chicago. That was warmer than Tampa Bay, Fla., where it was 67; as well as Hilo, Hawaii, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where it was 68.

When the Cubs were taking on the White Sox Sunday at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz., the temperature was in the 50s. If they’d played at Wrigley Field or U.S. Cellular Field, they would have encountered typical mid-season baseball weather.

The average temperature in Chicago for this March has been 49.3 degrees – already warmer than the previous record of 48.6 degrees set in 1910 and 1945.

The forecast high for Tuesday is 82 – a temperature that would be good news even in July or August. On Wednesday, the high is 79.

The last time there were even two straight days with temperatures in the 80s in Chicago in March was 1986.

A National Weather Service meteorologist says until now, the earliest date Chicago saw four consecutive days in the 80s was mid-April 1976. As of now, there have already been five consecutive days.

Before this year, the highest recorded temperature for March in Chicago was set in 1995. That year, the temperature topped out at 77 degrees.

Notoriously, a heat wave four months later left hundreds of people dead in Chicago.

And while WeatherSource says there were five days of temperatures in the 70s in March 1995, there were also 17 days of temperature highs in the 20s, 30s and 40s.

But this hot streak won’t last forever. Temperatures finally come down to something approaching normal springtime levels on Thursday – although even then, they’ll seem more befitting May than March.

The high for Thursday is 65 and for Friday 63, with storms expected both days. The high drops to 60 on Saturday, and a downright frigid, bone-chilling 56 on Sunday.

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