ASK TOM: Chicago's below-zero days in 2012

Dear Tom,

 I seem to recall that Chicago temperatures never fell below zero in 2012. When was our last day below zero?

– Ted Groat


Dear Ted,

You are correct. Chicago has not recorded a subzero temperature since minus 9 on Feb. 10, 2011 — making the 2011-12 winter just the city’s 13th since 1870-71 that failed to record a below-zero reading. However, the city has a long way to go before threatening the 1,415-day record — nearly four years, from Feb. 20, 1936, through Jan. 4, 1940. The heart of Chicago’s subzero season typically runs from mid-January through mid-February, peaking during February’s opening days, so there is still plenty of time to drop below zero this winter. Chicago’s latest-in-the-season day below zero was on March 22, 1888, when the temperature dropped to 1 below.