(STMW) — Chicagoans may not want to hear it, lest it jinx the nearly snow-free season we’ve enjoyed so far, but the National Weather Service says we’ve gotten off to a late start for the 2011-2012 snow season and that could bode well for the amount of snow we’ll see this winter.

According to the weather service, although there were several hours of snow in Chicago late Thursday into Friday morning, temperatures remained above freezing and officially there was just a trace of snow accumulation.

Officially this fall there has yet to be a measurable snowfall in Chicago, which is unusual this late in the season, according to the weather service. Typically, the first measurable snowfall of the year in Chicago occurs around November 21, the weather service said.

Looking back at snowfall records in Chicago, 88 percent of the years in the record books have seen a measurable snowfall by at least December 2, the weather service said.

The latest measurable snowfall in Chicago was Dec. 16, 1965. The second-latest was Dec. 14, in 2001, and the third-latest was Dec. 12 in 1946.

Given the forecast for the next week, it is quite likely that 2011 will continue to rank higher on that list, the weather service said. Additionally, according to the weather service, every one of the years which failed to produce a measurable snowfall by Dec. 5 ended up with below-average snowfall for the winter months (December – February). While that doesn’t necessarily mean that Chicago’s 2011-2012 snowfall will be below average if there isn’t measurable snowfall by Monday, statistically the odds would certainly tend to favor a less snowy than average winter, according to the weather service.

The current forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of light rain or light snow Monday, with highs in the upper 30s. Beyond that the chance we’ll see any snowfall through at least Thursday night look fairly low, according to the weather service.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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