Chicago Weather in January

Although January has the driest weather of the year in Chicago, Illinois, it is also the city's snowiest month.

This page gives detailed information on the typical January weather for Chicago.

You can jump directly to data and descriptions for:

The numbers here are historical averages based on climate data gathered at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, located in the northwestern part of Chicago.

Temperature Weather iconTemperature

31 °F January average high -1 °C
17 °F January average low -9 °C

In most years, Chicago averages a daily maximum temperature for January that's between 26 and 36 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 to 2 degrees Celsius). The minimum temperature usually falls between 10 and 23 °F (-12 to -5 °C).

January is the coldest month overall for Chicago and the 19th and 20th are its chilliest days. They have daily highs averaging 30.7 °F (-0.7 °C) and lows of 16.1 °F (-8.8 °C).

6 days 40 °F max. or more (4 °C)
17 days 20 °F min. or less (-8 °C)

Chicago averages just one day in January when the thermometer reaches into the 50s °F (over 10 °C). Temperatures above 60 °F (15 °C) happen about once a decade. Typically 16 days remain below freezing for the entire day.

The thermometer ends up at freezing or below nearly every night in January. On an average of 4 nights, it drops as cold as 0 °F (-18 °C) or lower.

Rainy Weather iconPrecipitation

1.7 in total precipitation 44 mm
11 days of rain or snowfall

Half the time, Chicago receives 1 to 2 inches (28 to 50 mm) of precipitation in January. One in four years has drier weather, while another one in four is wetter. Overall, this is Chicago's driest month.

Snowy Weather iconSnow

10.8 in total snowfall 27.4 cm
8 days with new snow

January's snowfall varies a lot from year to year in Chicago. Between 5 and 16 inches (13 to 39 cm) of fresh snow arrives in half the years. Less new snow lands in one out of four Januaries, while another twenty-five percent are snowier.

Chicago typically has at least an inch (2.5 cm) of snow on the ground for 17 days this month. The snow normally accumulates to 5 inches (13 cm) or deeper on 6 days.

Sunny Weather iconSun

44 % sunshine
7 days clear skies

The sun's rays reach the ground in Chicago during 44 percent of daylight hours on average in January, for a total of 130 hours in the month. Typically on 7 days this month the sky is mainly clear, with at most 30 percent cloud cover.

Sunlight in January at Chicago lasts for 9 hours and 33 minutes a day on average. The shortest day of the month is the 1st with 9 hours and 12 minutes of daylight. By the end of the month, the days have lengthened to 10:01 from sunrise to sunset. These durations can vary by a minute or two from year to year.

Humid Weather iconHumidity

72 % January average humidity

The relative humidity in Chicago during January usually peaks at 76 percent in the morning then drops to 65 percent by mid afternoon.

Local Time12 am3 am6 am9 am12 pm3 pm6 pm9 pm
Humidity % 75 76 76 74 67 65 71 74

Windy Weather iconWind

11.6 mph January wind speed average 18.7 kph

January is windier than most other months in Chicago.

Stormy Weather iconStorms

4 days snowfall of 1 inch (2.5 cm) or more
0 days with thunderstorms in January

Chicago can get over 5 inches (13 cm) of snow in one day during January, but snowstorms that severe only occur in some years.

Similarly, every few years a thunderstorm passes over Chicago in January.


These weather data are long-term historical averages provided by the National Climatic Data Center of the United States. The temperature and precipitation numbers are 1981-2010 normals while the humidity and thunderstorm statistics are 1961-1990 normals.

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