ASK TOM: The late March/early April snowstorm in 1926

Dear Tom,
I have an old photograph of our house on North Hamlin Avenue in Chicago, with huge piles of snow maybe 6 feet high. The photo is dated April 2, 1926. Is that much snow possible in April?

– Ted Wolak, Chicago

 

Dear Ted,
The date is probably accurate because Chicago weather historian Frank Wachowski tells us that 23.4 inches of snow — nearly 2 feet — kept Chicago buried from March 26 through April 3 of that year.

 

It was the most snow Chicago has experienced that late in the season. A huge storm from March 30 to 31 smothered the city with 12.6 inches of snow, accompanied by howling 40 mph winds.

 

Weather bureau records contain the notation that city streets were blocked and that traffic in the city was snarled.