01/10/2013 05:15 pm ET Updated Jan 10, 2013

Chicago Winter Record High: Friday Warmup Could Hit 60 Degrees

The calendar says Chicago is smack in the middle of winter, but a long snowless streak and balmy temps feel anything but.

Forecasts indicate Friday temps could reach a high of 60 -- just one degree shy of an 1880 record of 61 degrees.

Before the Friday warmup, however, CBS Chicago reports heavy Thursday afternoon rainfall forecast as part of a surge of warm, moist air moving up from the Gulf of Mexico.

Even if the mercury doesn't creep past the all-time high of 61 degrees, the stretch of unseasonably warm weather continues to break records. Just Wednesday, the Tribune reported Chicago passed its 320th consecutive day without an inch of snowfall.

Previously, the 319-day snowless record was set in 1940.

Though cold comfort for snow-lovers, the city's lack of flurries may save the cash-strapped government a little green. After 2012's mild winter, the city tallied considerable savings on snow removal; Crain's Chicago Business reported the city spent just $500,000 on snow removal in December 2011, compared to $6 million spent the year before.

Meanwhile, the preparation and cleanup price tag of the Feb. 2011 blizzard: $37 million.

Despite the rainy Thursday afternoon forecast, the precipitation will still do little to ease the draught that's gripped the area since last year. The Tribune said, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center, Chicago-area precipitation levels over the past year are about 4 to 6 inches below normal, with greater deficits reported downstate.

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