ASK TOM WHY: What is the biggest snowstorm to hit Chicago in December, and what is the snowiest December?

Dear Tom,
What is the biggest snowstorm to hit Chicago in December, and what is the snowiest December?
— Allison Baldwin,
Palos Heights

 
Dear Allison,

 

A search through the city’s official snow archives from 1884 to the present and also through Midway Airport snowfall data from 1928 onward reveals the greatest snowstorm to occur in December was 14.8 inches at Midway Airport on Dec. 18-19, 1929; close behind at 14.5 inches is the storm of Dec. 11, 2000 (also at Midway).

 

Snow production varies greatly from winter to winter in Chicago’s capricious climate, but, averaged through the years, December is the city’s second-snowiest month, with 9.4 inches (topped only by January’s 10.7 inches). The city’s snowiest December was 12 years ago: an incredible 41.3 inches in December 2000.

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