Edges Out 1979, But What Was Spring Like Back Then?

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — This winter ranks as the worst ever in Chicago, according to an online poll conducted by CBS Chicago.

The poll is not scientific, but nearly 38 percent said 2012-13 was the worst, compared with 35 percent who said the winter of 1978-79 deserved that honor.

Another 17 percent said the record-setting Blizzard of 1967 made that winter season the worst, while 10 percent called 1977-78 the most brutal.

In 1979, the area saw more snow than in 2013–a seasonal record 89 inches, compared with about 74 this year.

The average temperature from December though February in both years was about the same–just more than 18 degrees.

However, this year was worse for extreme temperatures, with a record 26 days that had temps at zero or below.

Good news: After March 10, there have only been three days since records have been kept when the temperature fell below zero.

Monday’s forecast called for temperatures in the 50s (near 60 in southern suburbs), and many are finally thinking about spring.

So, just by the numbers, what was the spring of 1979 like?

It was wetter than normal, but with less snow. The temperatures were about normal for the season.

Between March-May of 1979, Chicago officially had two inches of snow, well below the norm of 7.6 inches.

A total of 11.32 inches of precipitation fell, nearly two inches above normal.

The mean temperature that spring was 46.5, about one degree below normal.

Of course, those numbers don’t have any bearing on the current forecast.

After Monday’s warm weather, temperatures will gradually fall on Tuesday, with rain turning to snow on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

The heaviest snow will fall to the south and east of Chicago.

About 1-2 inches is expected from this system before it ends by midday Wednesday.

It appears Friday will reach back up into the 50s.

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