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Tuesday night’s snowstorm was weaker than expected, just one of a mild Chicago winter

When Addisen Hartley heard about the snowstorm headed toward the Chicago area this week, she was relieved. She had three exams on Wednesday and was relying on the storm for extra time to study.

That relief was quickly replaced with panic when she realized that the snowstorm wasn’t happening and neither was the gift of extra study time.

Hartley went instead to her local Starbucks in Wicker Park in a panic to brush up on biology terms.

“I think about this time last year and how we were in the middle of a polar vortex, and I’m glad it’s not deathly cold,” said the 21-year-old DePaul University student. “But this winter hasn’t been too good for the procrastinator in me.”

A major snowstorm that was expected to hit the city overnight on Tuesday and into Wednesday ended up only bringing one to four inches of snow, barely enough to require boots. The sun started to peak out over the Loop in downtown Chicago by mid-afternoon.

Standing for “Happy Grandma March,” this tree is symbolic of the welcoming of spring. | Taylor Cameron

“It’s great that it didn’t happen because it makes my kids come to school,” said Hafsa Siddiqui, a 24-year-old elementary school teacher who lives in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. “Of course, it [the storm] makes them happier than me because they get to skip school when it’s a snow day.”

Meteorologists had been predicting that the snow would accumulate overnight and warned of dangerous commute routes and perhaps school closures in some areas.

“I’m very glad that they were wrong about the weather report,” said Margaret Roman, a 52-year-old West Chicago resident. “I think it saved everyone a huge headache.”

Ali Hassan, 45, a professor at the University of Iowa, drove to Chicago on Wednesday to visit family and attend a conference. He didn’t know that a storm was expected. “I just remember looking at the weather, and I thought there was supposed to be a storm yesterday in Iowa City but it never came,” he said.

This year’s winter accounts for Chicago’s 12th warmest year on record with temperatures averaging at 7.2 degrees above the normally reported temperatures and predicted snowfall at 8.4 inches below previous reports.

Hassan said it’s hard to tell whether climate change is the culprit. “I am much more comfortable making the assessment about the whole season,” he said. “If the whole season ends up being warm and temperatures are higher than they usually are then I would say that’s probably an indication of climate change.”

Within the first 46 days of winter, only four days were reported to be 5 degrees below average temperatures while 29 of them had been 5 degrees or more above average.

The storm that failed to be was predicted after the city had experienced a spring-like weekend, with a reported high of 50 degrees.

“The weather changes so much,” said Chicago resident Joe McCue. “It was a fleeting moment. It felt great but I knew it would change.”

The coming days throughout the week are predicted to be in the mid 30s and lower 50s,

“I think that it’s better to be prepared for the worst rather than not be prepared at all.” said Neil John, South Loop resident.

Redd Johnson, 29, of Bronzeville is just fine with the warmer weather.

“I have a love hate relationship with the snow,” said Johnson, who works for Chicago Security Professionals, a company of NBC Universal. “I like the anticipation of waiting for the summer time. It’s beautiful.” But, he added, “I wish Chicago had California weather.”


Scott Barnes, Isabel Colado, Mary Filatova, Martin French, Fiona Good-Sirota, Jennay Grayson, Savannah Jonkman, Marianna Koonce, Keyaria Lovett, Valeria Mancera-Saavedra, Oliva Paus, Liam Sweeney, Myer Lee Turner and Raul Vasquez contributed to this story.

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