ASK TOM WHY: What are the city's records for most and least days of snow cover in a winter?

Dear Tom,

I remember the late 1970s and early ’80s when it seemed like we had continuous snow cover from early December until early April. What are the city’s records for most and least days of snow cover in a winter?

— Marc Weiner

 
Dear Marc,

Days of snow cover are a good indicator of a winter’s severity. Many days of snow cover not only mean substantial snowfall but are indications of little thawing and overall lower winter temperatures.

Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski reports that the city typically logs 43 days each winter with snow cover of 1 inch or more. The record for the most days of snow cover was set in the city’s benchmark winter of 1978-79, when the ground was covered for 100 straight days, from Nov. 26 to March 5. The least: eight in the 1948-49 season. Days of snow cover so far this season: zero.

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