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For The First Time In 146 Years Chicago Goes Without Snow During January And February


What comes to mind when I say the words Chicago winter? An icy wind, perhaps, maybe the frozen lake. How about snow piled high in the streets?

TOM SKILLING: You've got to take winter seriously in this part of the world. There are some pretty cold days in December, January and February.

MARTIN: Tom Skilling should know. He's the chief meteorologist for WGN-TV and The Chicago Tribune.

SKILLING: Well, it's going on 40 years now watching our ever-changing weather here.

MARTIN: In those 40 odd years, he's seen everything Chicago weather has to offer.

SKILLING: I think about the only thing we don't get around here is tropical cyclones.

MARTIN: But this year, one normally abundant feature of the Chicago winterscape has been conspicuously absent.

SKILLING: We've had no snow on the ground literally for going on 75 days of any consequence.

MARTIN: And that is a new record. It's the first time there's been no January or February snowfall of at least an inch there since the National Weather Service began taking measurements in 1884.

SKILLING: You know, the reaction on the part of many here is, hey, keep it coming. We don't need the snow and the cold. But then I hear from other folks who plow snow for a living or sell coats to people and those who just aesthetically like the snow and winter, they're a little disappointed that the way winter has come up short here.

MARTIN: Case in point - 10-year-old Chicagoan Hannah Hampson.

HANNAH: I went out and played at the park with just like a fleece on instead of a winter jacket. It felt good, but it was just the feeling of you know something is wrong.

MARTIN: As for weather guru Tom Skilling, he can see where the kids are coming from.

SKILLING: (Laughter). Well, you know, I'm kind of a snow crazy. You know, and that's something, I guess, you probably shouldn't admit in my line of work. I love the snow. So yeah, I do kind of miss that.

MARTIN: Luckily for Tom, there are still a few more weeks of winter left to end the snow drought.


UNIDENTIFIED ARTIST: (Singing) Let it snow, let it snow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michel Martin
Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.
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