Last updated October 15, 2021

Chicago Snow Drought Winter 2017

United States

Due to historic and unseasonably warm rainy weather, Chicago witnessed no measurable snow cover for the entire months of January and February for the first time in records dating back to 1884. Christmas morning 2016 was the last day O'Hare International Airport reported at least an inch of snow on the ground. February has been one of Chicago's warmest on record and the city set new daily temperature records. Increasing winter temperatures are one of the clearest signals of climate change.

Due to global warming, winters are now warmer and the number of new record high temperatures are far outpacing new record lows. Observed long-term trends towards shorter, milder winters, decreased snow cover, and earlier spring thaws are altering the timing of critical spring events such as bud burst and emergence from overwintering.

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