Scientists have confirmed what we already knew: Chicago's winter was a warm one.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded this winter season will go down as the ninth warmest in Chicago history and fourth warmest winter on record across the board. Local averages this year were 32.8 degrees.
Temperatures were above average in the 48 contiguous states and the national snow cover was below average, the report shows. Many cold-weather cities have seen less than half the snowfall they had last year.
That's no surprise in Chicago. At the end of February, only about an inch-and-a-half of snow fell and unseasonably warm temps rose to near-70 this week.
The biggest storms of the year dropped 4.7 inches on Jan. 12 and 5.4 inches on Jan. 20. In total Chicago shoveled only about 16 inches all winter, making the 2011-2012 season the fifth least snowy in local history.
It's a big switch from little more than a year ago when about 23 inches fell Feb. 2 during the city's third biggest blizzard ever.