ASK TOM WHY: What was the record for the smallest gap between measurable snowfalls?

Dear Tom,

With all the talk of breaking the record for the longest gap between measurable snowfalls, I don’t recall seeing what the record was for the smallest gap. What was it?

Steve Fazekas


Dear Steve,

One thing is assured: Chicago will receive snow every winter. Some winters a lot, some winters little — but always some. On average, the city experiences a run of 227 days between the last measurable snow of spring and the first of measurable snow of autumn; that’s a span of about seven and one-half months. However, since 1885 (128 years ago), 15 years have delivered snow-free intervals of less than 200 days (about six and one-half months), and the shortest run of consecutive days without measurable snow was 164 days in 1989, from May 7 through Oct. 17. The city logged 0.5 inches of snow on May 6, the season’s last, and 0.7 inches on Oct. 18, the next season’s first.

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