Friday Marks Chicago's Coldest December High Temperature in Nearly 40 Years

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Chicago’s high temperature on Friday failed to reach zero degrees Fahrenheit, and as a result the city saw its coldest December high temperature in nearly 40 years.

According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature recorded at O’Hare International Airport was minus-1 degree Fahrenheit.

The failure to hit zero degrees marks the first time since Dec. 1983 that the city had a subzero high temperature on a December day, according to officials with the NWS.

The frigid reading came amid a winter storm that buffeted the area with ferocious winds and frigid temperatures. Wind chill readings dropped to nearly 40 degrees below zero in some locations, and wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour were recorded across the region.

The minus-1 degree reading is just the fourth subzero high temperature the city has seen in the month of December since at least 1958, according to the National Weather Service.

The previous three instances all occurred within a three-day span in 1983, when the city was gripped with one of the worst cold spells in recorded history.

After hitting minus-6 degrees on Dec. 23 of that year, the high temperature on Christmas Eve was even colder, with the mercury only hitting minus-11 degrees Fahrenheit. Christmas wasn’t much better, with a high of minus-5 degrees at O’Hare.

Virtually the entire second-half of that month featured highs in the single-digits, making for one of the coldest periods of weather the city has seen since records began in 1871.

Fortunately for area residents, this month’s cold snap will be much shorter lived. Saturday and Sunday should see highs in the low-teens, and by Wednesday, the temperatures will be back above the freezing mark, according to forecast models.

Contact Us