ASK TOM WHY: Were there more below-zero days in 1980 to 1999?

Dear Tom,

From 1980 to 1999 we lived along the Little Calumet River in Harvey and I would not let my boys skate on it until we had some below-zero weather. I recall they skated a lot. Were there more below-zero days then?

Thanks,

— Jan Gricus, Naperville

Dear Jan,

There sure were. No decades produced more subzero days in Chicago than the 1970s and 80s, so your boys had many opportunities to skate. In 1985 the city logged a record 25 below zero days that included the city’s all-time lowest temperature of minus 27 on January 20. That period also included the city’s longest streak of zero or below temperatures that spanned 100 hours during the Christmas holidays in 1983. It’s been tough skating in recent winters with the lack of subzero days. None were recorded last winter and the city has logged just one so far this winter; a low of 1 below on January 22.

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