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Chicago: On the Brink of Its Warmest Year Ever

There’s a good chance Chicago will close out 2012 today with an average temperature of 54.5 degrees for the year, breaking the record set in 1921. Cities across the country are breaking that record, as is the U.S. as a whole.

millennium park chicago

 

Wow:

It’s like that all over. Tucson:

“The record, set in 1989, is 71.4 degrees,” Brost said. “That’s the average temperature for the entire calendar year. If our forecasts for the rest of this year are even fairly close, we’ll end up at 71.4 degrees for this year.”

New York:

Unless meteorologists are horribly off in their predictions for the next few weeks of 2012, New York City is set to finish its warmest year ever, with an average temperature of 57.2 degrees.

Austin:

2012 could end up the second hottest year on record [currently 72.9 degrees]. 2011 is number one at 73.5 degrees.

Syracuse:

As of Dec. 19, the daily average temperature in 2012 was 53.5 degrees, compared to the previous record of 51.5 degrees in 1931. The final 12 days of December will undoubtedly drop the 2012 average, but not enough to lose its stranglehold on the top spot. (For 2012 to drop below 1931’s average, the remaining 12 days of December would need to average minus-8 degrees.)

And nationwide:

“For 2012 not to be record warm, December would have to be unprecedented,” Jake Crouch, a scientist at the National Climatic Data Center, told NBC News. “December temperatures would need to be more than 1 degree F colder than the coldest December on record, which occurred in 1983.”

The heat and dryness, the big weather story this year, could bring down other records:

Calendar day snowfall records of an inch or greater, while impressive, do not account for snow that may cross the calendar day and add up to an inch. Looking at the number of consecutive days without a snow depth measured of at least 1” really tells the story of just how unusual it is for Chicago to go this long without the ground being covered in at least an inch of snow. Through December 30th, it has been 308 days since Chicago has officially had an inch of snow on the ground, making this the 2nd longest stretch of its kind on record in Chicago.

If it keeps up, the weirdest is yet to come: the reversal of the Chicago River, as record-low levels on the Great Lakes send the water back where it came from.

 

Photograph: (vincent desjardines) (CC by 2.0)

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