The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Winds of Change

By Scott Smith in News on Dec 15, 2006 7:14PM

Despite the city’s reputation for cold, harsh winters, December is often the proverbial calm before the winter storms, with milder temps preceding the brutal cold and drifts of snow in the early part of the year. But guess what? You’ll also have to worry about tornados.

Illinois played host to 126 tornados in 2006, up from 19 (!!!) in 2005. Jim Angel, an Illinois state climatologist, says that better detection techniques – not a change in the weather – are responsible for the increase.

(Is it just us or do you imagine this guy goes around in a trenchcoat and fedora, Phillip Marlowe-style saying “Hey, Toots. I’m Jim Angel, Climatologist. I hear you’ve been having some trouble with high winds and weather patterns. Sounds like you’ve got tornado troubles, and that’s right up my alley.”)

In other weather news, Tom Skilling is predicting a 60-degree day tomorrow, the 70th such day in December since 1870, when weather was invented. Perfect for those looking to finish up some holiday shopping or, in our case, start some. The warmer temperatures are expected to continue throughout the weekend before turning cold again on Monday.

2006_12_15_ab.jpgAlso, tonight and tomorrow are good opportunities to see the Northern Lights. Otherwise known as the aurora borealis, these phenomena resemble spotlights in the sky. On other evenings when glowing lights are seen in the Chicago sky, it’s usually an indicator of Ladies’ Night at Excalibur.

Image via Jiri Kvita