CHICAGO (CBS) — It has not been a white winter so far in Chicago, as the city has recorded barely more than an inch of snow.

AccuWeather tells WBBM Newsradio that this winter’s snow total in Chicago finally exceeded an inch on Saturday, but there are other snow drought records for the city.

Accuweather meteorologist Bob Larson said “a lot of this has its roots to a weather phenomenon known as ‘La Nina, which often leads to dry condition over the middle of the nation.”

The lack of snow doesn’t just hurt skiers and snowmen builders, it’s bad for the Earth.

Snow, Larson said, “is very important, because [snow] adds to the water table. When you have a great snow pack, a significant snowpack that seeps into the ground and helps the ground moist … it also can affect vegetation where snow can help provide some sense of insulation.”

A bit of snow returned to Chicago late Saturday, accumulating 0.4 of an inch and pushing this winter’s snow total to 1.3 inches.

Only other three times, since snow record-keeping began in 1886, has it taken longer for Chicago to see the season’s snow total reach an inch. Jan. 8, 1944, holds the record for the latest such occurrence.

Despite Saturday’s snow, Chicago’s historical streaks for lack of an inch of snow either on the ground or falling on a calendar day continue.

The streak for consecutive days without an inch of snow on the ground in Chicago rose to 317 days on Tuesday, the city’s all-time longest. The record was previously held by the stretch of 313 days that ended in early January 1940.

Tuesday also marked the 319th straight day that Chicago has not seen an inch of snow fall on one calendar day, a streak ties the record from 1939 to early January 1940. That record will be broken on Wednesday.

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