ASK TOM: Chicago's maximum snow events

Dear Tom,

Each winter has a greatest amount of snow that falls in a single event. Of all these maximum snow events, which year had the lowest amount?

Al Baker, Northbrook


Dear Al,


Some Chicago winters bring a great deal of snow and some, like this winter, are seriously snow-starved. A computer scan of the city’s entire official snowfall database from the winter of 1884-85 to the present indicates that, on average, the biggest snowstorm of any given winter is a hefty 8.3 inches. During the entire snow season of 1921-22, the biggest snow event was only 2.4 inches (Dec. 17, 1921), and that is the least of the “biggest of the season” snowstorms. To date, this winter’s biggest snow stands at a puny 1.1 inches (Jan. 25), and so this winter is on track to establish yet another snowfall record: the least amount of snow in the season’s biggest snowstorm.