When people ask what it’s like to live in Chicago, I tell them, “Seven months a year, it’s the greatest city in America.”
The other five, of course, are often bitterly cold, snowy, and windy. And living there in the dead of winter, you learn to climb flights of steps coated in inches-thick sheets of ice that last all winter. Your hair ices over if you spend too long outdoors, brittle strands snapping off at a touch. You can go weeks in January and February without spending a comfortable second outdoors. When March rolls around, 25 degrees Fahrenheit becomes an excuse to break out the lightweight jacket.
But Chicago is having a weird winter. This month the city has experienced 18 days with highs above 40 degrees — a very unusual weather pattern in the Midwestern lakefront metropolis — and one six-day period, February 17-22, in which the daily high temperatures were 67 degrees, 70 degrees, 67 degrees, 69 degrees, 65 degrees, and 67 degrees.