A cold drive to Florida in January 1938

Dear Tom,
My parents, now deceased, drove to Florida in January 1938 in a two-seat open car. They told me it was cold and the closer they got to Florida, the colder it got. Could you please tell me about that Florida cold spell?

Carol Ritchie, Des Plaines

Dear Carol,
We tapped the resources of weather historian Frank Wachowski and he dug into his archives to retrieve the information you seek. Utilizing Climatological Data, 1938 (a publication of the U.S. Weather Bureau), Wachowski says your parents undoubtedly had a cold drive.

Periods of very chilly weather gripped Florida and much of the Southeast during the latter half of January 1938. In Florida, the month’s closing week was especially cold. Readings sank below 20 degrees in northwest Florida and frosts were widespread. Snow flurries dusted several Gulf Coast stations on Jan. 26.

Roundup of snowfall totals as of 9PM

The snow continues to pile up across the Chicago area.  There is a bit of good news for snow weary Chicagoans:  The snow should be over for most of you by the Wednesday morning rush.

7.5″   Chicago- O’Hare

6.6″   Chicago- Midway


10.5″ Wadsworth

10.2  Northbrook

9.6″  Beach Park

8.4″  Downers Grove

8.3″  Oak Brook

7.0″  Schererville, IN

6.3″  La Porte, IN

6.0″  Lombard

Heavy snow falling at two major Midwest airports

O’Hare and Milwaukee’s Mitchell airport are both dealing with heavy snow on this Tuesday evening.

The visibility at O’Hare is down to 1/4 of a mile as a band of heavy snow slowly drifts south across northern Cook County. 

A second band of heavy snow is located over southeast Wisconsin.  The visibility at Mitchell Airport just south of downtown Milwaukee is also down to 1/4 of a mile.  In addition, wind has become a serious problem over portions of southeast Wisconsin.  A wind gust of 37mph was recorded at 8:36PM in Milwaukee.