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Worst Winter Ever? It Sure Seems Like It

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It may feel like the worst winter ever, and it is certainly the harshest in decades.

Is this really the worst winter on record? And how does one define a bad winter? Extreme cold? Huge drifts of snow?

Some winters have had one, but not the other.

This season, Chicago has seen plenty of both, and the area has rarely experienced harsher extremes, CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker reports.

"I've lived here my whole life, and I can't remember this in my 30 years." said one Chicagoan. "It's been the worst one."

"It's certainly not the worst, but it's definitely around the worst that Chicago has ever experienced," said Gino Izzi of the National Weather Service.

In fact, Chicago has broken a record this year for most days of measurable snow: 32 so far. It's added up to 61.2 inches, ranking No. 3 all time.

We haven't seen this much snow in more than 30 years, going back to the winter of 1979.

It's always cold in Chicago, but has it ever been THIS cold?

On average, temperatures have hovered about 18.5 degrees his winter.

It hasn't been this cold since 1984 when the average temp was 16.7. Add that to another bone chilling stat: We've had 21 days where the temperature has dropped below zero. The record is 25.

"That's really getting into the extraordinary territory," Izzi said. "We have had only a handful of those winter in 140 years where it's dropped below zero."

The weather can be soul-crushing and morale busting.

Well, here's a fact to warm you up, maybe.

Last month, Chicago had 37 straight hours of below zero temps.

On Dec. 22, 1983, temperatures dropped below zero, and Chicago spent a record four days there.

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