ASK TOM WHY: When did the winter snow of 1959-60 begin to fall?

Dear Tom,

In the fall of 1959, I moved to California, and in February my mother sent me a picture of a Chicago side street covered in deep snow. Mom said, “This is still the snow that began to fall last October.” Was that true?

— Mary Louise Stefanic, Oak Park

 

Dear Mary,

It appears that your mother used a bit of “parental license.” While the 1959-60 winter was a snowy one with 50.9 inches, the only prolonged period of snow cover was in February and March.

Through January, snowfall totaled a little less than 21 inches, and snow covered the ground sporadically for just 18 days. Late winter brought frequent snowfall, with more than 30 inches falling from Feb. 9 to March 25, leaving a persistent snow cover for nearly that entire time that included the season’s greatest snow depth of 7 inches.

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