Chicago Weather in January

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

This page gives detailed information on the typical January temperature, precipitation, sun, humidity, wind and storms for Chicago. The numbers here are historical averages based on temperature, rain and snow measurements gathered at Chicago Midway Airport and other climate data from Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Temperature Weather iconTemperature

33 °F January average high -0 °C
20 °F January average low -7 °C

January is the coldest month overall for Chicago and the 20th and 22th are usually its chilliest days. They have daily highs averaging 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and the lows of 19 °F (-7 °C).

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

Chicago averages two days in January when the thermometer reaches into the 50s °F (over 10 °C). Temperatures above 60 °F (15 °C) happen about once every few years. 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 3 nights, it drops as cold as 0 °F (-18 °C) or below.

Rainy Weather iconPrecipitation

2.3 in total precipitation 58 mm
12 days of rain or snowfall

Half the time, Chicago receives 1.3 to 3.3 inches (32 to 84 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

11.3 in total snowfall 29 cm
9 days with new snow

January's snowfall varies a lot from year to year in Chicago. Between 5.5 and 15 inches (14 to 37 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 16 days this month. The snow normally accumulates to 5 inches (13 cm) or deeper on 5 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.


The weather data here are long-term averages provided by the US National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Temperature and precipitation are 1991-2020 normals while humidity and thunderstorms are 1961-1990 normals.

Chicago Weather
Back to Top