We came close. Mid-January it looked like Chicago would have its warmest winter in 80 years, but with the cool-down last weekend, the ranking has slipped a bit:
Two days remain in February and the 2011-12 meteorological winter season! It closes at midnight Thursday and is on track to finish the 10th-warmest December through February period of the past 142 years.
Estimates that this season's average Chicago temperature is to come in at 0.3°C places it 3°C above the long-term average and the mildest here since 1997-98's 0.5°C average.
The chances for a -18°C or lower temperature occurring this late in the cold season are fading fast. Prospects "low" at best. Failure to produce a 0-degree reading would make this only the 13th cold season since the city's observational record began in 1870 to be "zero-free" and mark the first time in the three decades since 1982-83 that a winter has failed to produce a single -18°C temperature here.
While this winter's limited chill and lack of snow have garnered a good deal of attention, so has its generous number of 4.4°C and warmer days. The last winter winter with as many 40s (°F) occurred 80 years ago.
Even though we didn't get quite to the record, we're still quite happy that we went from fall to spring with only about four days of winter. I, personally, could get used to this.