ASK TOM WHY: What is the city's longest-standing low temperature record?

Dear Tom,

I was born Dec. 28, 1924, when the low temperature of 13 below set a record. Is that still a record? What is the city’s longest-standing record?

— Rosalyn Goodman, Chicago


Dear Rosalyn,

Your birthday record low still stands 88 years later. In fact, Chicago weather historian Frank Wachowski reports that there have only been two subzero temperatures on Dec. 28 since 1924: 3 below in 1961 and 1 below in 1983.

Chicago’s longest-standing record lows date to 1871, when back-to-back records were set Dec. 4 (6 below) and Dec. 5 (8 below). The city’s oldest record high was established Dec. 31, 1875, a balmy 68. Wachowski also noted that while a record high of 62 on Jan. 12, 1871, has never been surpassed, it was tied in both 1890 and 2005, and by convention the latest date is considered the record.

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