My husband insists that there was a major snow storm on May 1st many years ago. Is he correct?
It happened nearly 75 years ago, but your husband’s snowy memory is correct. The Chicago area received its heaviest May snow when 2.2 inches was fell on May 1-2, 1940 at the city’s official observation site on the University of Chicago campus. Following a balmy 73-degree high on April 30, temperatures plunged in the wake of a strong cold front. Rain began after midnight and changed to snow during the morning on May 1 and continued overnight finally ending the following afternoon. The snow forced the postponement of a game at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and Boston Bees. The snowfall was even heavier in other parts of the metro area with 3.7 inches at Midway Airport, 4.8 inches at Marengo and 5 inches at Elgin.
By Meteorologist Steve Kahn
High temperatures are forecast to climb into the 70s Sunday as south winds and ample sunshine deliver holiday warmth. Winds cutting in off chilly Lake Michigan, however, will keep areas along the north lakeshore a bit cooler. It should be the city’s warmest Easter in four years since a 76-degree high on April 4, 2010.
A cool-down will follow the passage of a cold front Monday, which will be accompanied by showers and thunderstorms. Despite the Chicago area’s very snowy winter, precipitation since March 1 is running about 1.5 inches below normal. A return to cooler weather is expected Tuesday and Wednesday before another round of showers and thunderstorms arrives Thursday setting the stage for a chilly weekend with temperatures forecast to only reach the lower 50s Saturday.
What was Chicago’s biggest Easter snow?
— Bob Johnson,
By the nature of Easter’s movable date, which can be as early as March 22 or as late as April 25, the weather on the holiday has greatly varied, ranging from wintry to summerlike. Since 1885 snow has fallen on 21 Easters, most recently in 2007. Most of the snowfalls have been minor events, but the holiday has hosted two major snowstorms.
On April 4, 1920, the city was hit by 6.4 inches of snow, but the biggest snowfall occurred March 29, 1964, when 7.1 inches fell. The snow began just before sunrise and lasted until about 5 p.m. Winds gusting to nearly 40 mph created near-blizzard conditions, with visibility dropping to less than one-quarter of a mile. An inch of snow also fell that Saturday.
Cool lake winds go to work on daytime highs in lakeshore areas Saturday while inland temps surge into the 60s. Area beachgoers will have to settle with low and mid 50s Saturday afternoon while west and southern sections of the Chicago area—the Fox Valley, DeKalb, McHenry County and Rockford to the west and Joliet, Kankakee and Renssalaer, IN to the south—watch afternoon readings surge into the mid to upper 60s.
It’s the 2nd consecutive day cool breezes off Lake Michigan are to produce noteworthy temp variations across the metro area.
Temps varied nearly 30-degrees from the lakeshore to warmest inland areas on Friday
A huge spread in temperatures developed across the area Friday. The coldest lakeshore readings reached no higher than 36-degrees there while Aurora (63), Kankakee (63), Rockford (61), Rensselaer, IN (63) and Joliet checked in with 61. Even warmer were the readings at Pontiac (66) and Morris (65).
Easter Sunday to be the warmest in 4 years
Even warmer temperatures are ahead Sunday with the arrival of well organized southerly winds which are to propel the day’s high temperatures to 75-degrees, making it this area’s warmest Easter in 4 years. Readings as warm as Sunday’s have been infrequent in recent Easters. Only 2 of the past 20 years have registered 70s on the holiday.
Afternoon temperatures across the Chicago area spanned about 25 degrees Friday afternoon ranging from the mild lower and middle 60s well inland to the chilly middle and upper 30s near the lake chilled by brisk onshore winds. A similar, but less dramatic scenario is on tap for Saturday with lakeside areas warming to near 50 as winds become southeasterly. Spring warmth will flourish across much of the area Easter Sunday as gusty south winds boost afternoon temperatures into the middle and upper 70s bring the city it warmest Easter since 2010 when the mercury peaked at 76 degrees. Dry weather is expected to prevail through the weekend with the first chance of precipitation coming in the form of showers and thunderstorms on Monday afternoon and evening ahead of an approaching cold front.