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Dreariest December on record?

A cyclist rides along the lakefront on a cloudy winter afternoon. | Sun-Times library

The slow jam “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone” is an appropriate anthem for Chicago, which is on pace to set a record for the least amount of sunlight in the month of December.

“We’ve had 13 days with no sun this month,” said Frank Wachowski, a retired National Weather Service meteorologist who now volunteers his time to keep weather records at Midway Airport.

Sunshine has hit the faces of Chicagoans only 18 percent of the time between sunrise and sunset through Dec. 20. The rest of the time the sun has been blocked by clouds.

The previous low sunshine average for December was 19 percent in 1975.

The cloudiest month ever recorded in Chicago (stats go back to 1893) was November 1985, when sunshine averaged 16 percent.

The current forecast calls for little chance of sunshine through Christmas Eve.

The lack of sunshine can lead to seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression.

“I’ve heard a great number of people saying how dull and depressing it is because there’s no sunshine lately,” Wachowski said, noting that the feeling can be amplified on Mondays, when people head back to work.

Couple that with the performance of the Chicago Bears on recent Sundays and it’s “very depressing … in a way words can’t even describe,” Wachowski joked.