ASK TOM WHY: What is the warmest temperature recorded in Chicago on the same calendar day that it snowed?

Dear Tom,

What is the warmest temperature recorded in Chicago on the same calendar day that it snowed? I’ve seen it go from 60 degrees and rain to 30 and snow in a matter of hours!

— Austen Shock,
Oak Lawn

 
Dear Austen,

At first glance, mild temperatures and days with snow might seem to be mutually exclusive events, but they are not.

A search through years (1884-2012) of Chicago’s temperature and snowfall history yields some surprises, but none greater than the weather events of April 22, 1910. After peaking at 65 degrees with rain, a blast of arctic air sent readings plunging to 35 degrees and snow that accumulated to one-tenth of an inch.

In all, the search yielded 10 additional days whose high temperature was at least 60 degrees followed by measurable snow.

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