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280 days - and counting - without measurable snow at O'Hare Airport

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chicago may just break its record for the longest period of time without measurable snow.

On Sunday, Chicago tied the 1994 record of 280 days without measurable snowfall at O'Hare Airport, where the official measures are taken. Measurable snow is defined as 1/10 an inch of snow or more.

"We're going for day 281," ABC7 Meteorologist Tracy Butler said Monday. "If we do not get any major snowfall at O'Hare today, that breaks the record."

And if the snow doesn't fall on Monday, it probably won't the rest of the week, according to the forecast. "Today is our one and only chance to get some snowfall," Butler said, until perhaps Sunday. And that's another record the ABC7 Weather Team is watching. December 16, 1965 is currently the latest date of a first measurable snowfall. Now we are eyeing that record.

That means Chicago may not only break the 1994 record, but extend it by days. </p

As of Monday afternoon, there wasn't anything to measure, according to the National Weather Service in Romeoville.

"We're low tech. We use snowboards, which his basically half an inch piece of plywood that's painted white, a stick that is measured to the nearest tenth of an inch, and that's about it," Bill Nelson, NWS, said.

The NWS takes a measurement every six hours until the snowfall ends.

No snow saves city, suburbs cash

The plows are ready. The salt is stockpiled. The only thing missing- snow. That's good news for cities that are accustomed to spending big money on cleanup by now, but bad news for private snow removal companies.

"Last year we went through about a third that we normally would use. We saved a lot money," Jim Hirakawa, Elmhurst Public Works, said.

"There has been no business... having to buy the salt, getting the vehicles ready for snow- which we don't have," Jim Raimondi, Raimondi Cartage, said.

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