What’s With The Weird Weather?

Staff Writer Just under two years ago, Snowmageddon paralyzed Chicago by dropping over twenty inches of snow, shutting down roads, and (most importantly) closing schools. This winter, on the other hand, is nothing like the Winter of Snowmageddon—records are being broken for the lack of snow. If you have watched the news, checked the weather, or gone outside, you know that Chicago has had a pleasant, mild winter. Just how mild it has been may surprise you.

  • It has been over 325 days since it last snowed an inch or more in the city of Chicago, a record for longest period without snow.
  • Ending on New Year’s Eve, Chicago had not had a single day where the high temperature was below freezing for 310 days, its longest streak ever.
  • In 2012, there were only 11 days where the high temperature was below freezing, second only to 1933 where there were only 10.
  • Chicago’s cumulative season snowfall finally broke the inch barrier on January 5th, only three days earlier than the record of January 8th 1944.

(National Weather Service)

 These statistics are very powerful and seem to be just more proof of the phenomena known as global warming. Regardless of whether or not it is related to global warming, this warm, dry weather has real consequences. The most obvious effect is on Lake Michigan and the rivers connected to it. Lake Michigan is projected to hit its record low later this year, bringing with it serious economic problems in addition to the obvious environmental ones. Shipping is being disrupted, harbors are being closed, and tourism is negatively affected. Chicago is even worse off, as the low water levels may result in restricted boat traffic in the Chicago River, problems with water management and higher pollution levels. Though most analysts are not ready to label these problems as emergencies, this weird weather should make us think about the need to reduce and reuse our water consumption like Latin’s Green Police suggest. Turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth, take shorter showers, fix leaky pipes. It might seem insignificant, but every drop matters.  ]]>