Record-tying stretch without snow

December 9, 2012 (CHICAGO)

With the potential for icy conditions Sunday night, salt trucks will patrol the roads. And while the lack of snow is not good for businesses that depend on it, it is good for people that don't like snow.

The near-record snowless temperatures are not exactly breaking hearts in Chicago, although most people say they do want at least a white Christmas.

What in the world is going on in Chicago? It's cold and it's wet outside, but not in the way we expect.

"The rain was a little letdown," said Patrick Donlon. "I love the snow. I wish it were snowing."

"It doesn't bother me, I enjoy the weather, it's nice," said Eavenie Stamps. "You can go put take a stroll, look at the Christmas tree without trudging through snow. But I would like to have snow on Christmas."

Climatologists believe the near record-breaking weather is due to the drought earlier this year. While it's not necessarily unusual to not have any measurable snow at this point in December, it is unusual for it to have stopped snowing so early last winter.

So far, the dry weather has saved the city a considerable amount of money in salt and overtime pay.

"It could change very quickly," said Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams. "You can't second guess Mother Nature. It's still early in December. You could get a large snow event before the end of this month. It's something we're prepared for."

Williams says that whether we break the record for more snowless days or not, the city has already stockpiled 285,000 tons of salt, just in case. And those blue trucks aren't sitting idle. Some will be hitting the roads later Sunday night.

"We're going to be right around the freezing mark in some parts, possibly below, so we err on the side of caution," Williams said. "We will treat hills and bridges to make sure we have no issues with freezing."

But not everyone enjoys the lack of snow. Jake Weimer of ASAP Snow Removal has already invested several thousand dollars in getting his snow removal equipment ready.

"If the snow comes everybody is ready to work," Weimer said. "If there is no snow, you just can't bank on it anymore, especially with all the unseasonable weather we've been having."

The unseasonable weather does benefit retailers downtown, who do depend on the lack of snow to keep people coming out to shop.

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