It seems almost unfathomable in Thursday morning’s chill that Chicago’s earliest 70-degree temperature occurred 11 years ago—on Feb. 11, 1999. That warm spell, brief as it was,couldn’t have come at a better time for winter-weary area residents. Only 5 weeks earlier, the city had been hit hard by a snowstorm which produced the 2nd heaviest snow since records began in the 1884-85 season. (That January 1999 storm, replete with 50+ mph wind gusts, smothered the area beneath 18.6 inches of snow.) The city’s first 70-degree reading of the year has occurred on average on or about March 24.
Temperatures at that level are the last thing on the minds of many across the Chicago area Thursday morning. Clearing skies and diminishing overnight winds have allowed temperatures to dive into the single digits and teens—a temperature plunge spurred in part by the presence of the season’s deepest snow pack.
Chicago’s 2009-10 seasonal snow tally has reached 45.1 inches in the wake of Tuesday’s record snow—a total which ranks 9th snowiest of the 125 on the books to date. It’s nearly twice the 24.9 inches which has typically occurred by now.
Tuesday’s 12.6 inches of snow at O’Hare over becomes the city’s single heaviest calendar day February snow on record. The tally also qualifies as the 7th heaviest calendar day snowstorm in over 125 years of observations.
Think snow’s bad here? Mid-Atlantic reeling in midst of snowiest season on record!
The Nation’s Capital, where schools, businesses and even a parts of the Federal government shut down in blizzard conditions Wednesday, is now home to a deeper snowpack—28 inches of it—than in either Anchorage Alaska (20 inches) or Marquette Mich. (27 inches). The latest snowstorm to hit the Mid-Atlantic generated 10.5 new inches of snow in Washington, D.C. 19.5 inches Baltimore, 14.4 Philadelphia and 12.5 in New York’s Bronx Wednesday.
Seasonal snow tallies in the region are stunning. In Washington, where 15 inches falls on average during an entire season, 55.6 inches is now on the books—making this the snowiest season on record. The nearly 20 inches of snow which fell Wednesday on Baltimore in the midst of howling, blizzard-strength winds sent that city’s seasonal snow total soaring past 72 inches. Seasonal snow tallies have also reached new all-time highs in Philadelphia, Wilmington DE, and Atlantic City, N.J.
It’s now the third consecutive snowier than normal season
Some light snow reaches Chicago again Friday evening and night. But, a new system Sunday night and Monday will have to be monitored for possibly more substantial snows. All of the snow of late has pushed Chicago’s seasonal snow above normal for a third consecutive winter.