ASK TOM WHY: How gloomy was November, 1985?

Dear Tom,

I remember November, 1985 as being very gloomy. How does it rate? What is the city’s record for consecutive cloudy days?

— Mary Villasenor, Oak Lawn

Dear Mary,

Your dreary recollections are right on. According to Frank Wachowski, Chicago’s keeper of sunshine records, November, 1985 with just 16 percent of possible sunshine (42 percent is normal) ranks as the city’s least sunniest month based on record dating back to 1893. The month featured 19 totally cloudy days and only five could be classified as sunny or partly sunny. Only January 1998 with 20 totally cloudy days logged more. The city’s longest sunless stretch is 12 days, extending from December 29, 1991-January 9, 1992. During that dismal period the persistent 24-hour cloud cover kept temperatures in a narrow span of just 14 degrees ranging from 30 to 44.

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