ASK TOM: Winter 2011-12 mild temperatures

Dear Tom,
Last winter seemed to be the winter that never was. What was the coldest it got? My wife seems to think we never got below 25 degrees!
– Steve Deegan, Gurnee


Dear Steve,
Though last winter was a piece of cake in terms of lack of cold and snow, it did get quite a bit colder than 25 degrees. The winter’s lowest reading was 5 above, logged on Jan. 15, 19 and 20 during the winter’s coldest stretch. The only other winter to log a higher season’s-lowest reading was the winter of 1905-06, with 6 degrees. Winter 2011-12 was just the city’s 13th since 1871 that failed to log a subzero reading, and recorded only 14 days with subfreezing highs, second only to 1877-78 with eight. Seasonal snowfall totaled just 19.8 inches, the least in 63 years, since 14.3 inches fell in the winter of 1948-49.