What comes to mind when I say the words Chicago winter? An icy wind, perhaps, maybe the frozen lake. How about snow piled high in the streets?
TOM SKILLING: You’ve got to take winter seriously in this part of the world. There are some pretty cold days in December, January and February. audio record.
MARTIN: Tom Skilling should know. He’s the chief meteorologist for WGN-TV and The Chicago Tribune.
SKILLING: Well, it’s going on 40 years now watching our ever-changing weather here.
MARTIN: In those 40 odd years, he’s seen everything Chicago weather has to offer.
SKILLING: I think about the only thing we don’t get around here is tropical cyclones.
MARTIN: But this year, one normally abundant feature of the Chicago winterscape has been conspicuously absent.
SKILLING: We’ve had no snow on the ground literally for going on 75 days of any consequence.
MARTIN: And that is a new record. It’s the first time there’s been no January or February snowfall of at least an inch there since the National Weather Service began taking measurements in 1884.
SKILLING: You know, the reaction on the part of many here is, hey, keep it coming. We don’t need the snow and the cold. But then I hear from other folks who plow snow for a living or sell coats to people and those who just aesthetically like the snow and winter, they’re a little disappointed that the way winter has come up short here.
MARTIN: Case in point – 10-year-old Chicagoan Hannah Hampson.
HANNAH: I went out and played at the park with just like a fleece on instead of a winter jacket. It felt good, but it was just the feeling of you know something is wrong.
MARTIN: As for weather guru Tom Skilling, he can see where the kids are coming from.
SKILLING: (Laughter). Well, you know, I’m kind of a snow crazy. You know, and that’s something, I guess, you probably shouldn’t admit in my line of work. I love the snow. So yeah, I do kind of miss that.
MARTIN: Luckily for Tom, there are still a few more weeks of winter left to end the snow drought.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “LET IT SNOW”)
UNIDENTIFIED ARTIST: (Singing) Let it snow, let it snow.
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