Chicago Sees Largest Snowfall In More Than Five Years

Chicago’s winter storm over the weekend is the largest to hit the city in over five years. The National Weather Service says nearly nine-inches of snow was recorded at O’Hare Airport yesterday. That is the largest snowfall recorded at O’Hare since November 2015. Some areas outside the city saw around a foot of snow. City officials say nearly three-hundred plows were deployed across Chicago on Saturday. Hundreds of flights were canceled at both O’Hare and Midway airports due to the storm.

  • Widespread snowfall of 6″ to 12″ were observed from the afternoon of January 30 through the early evening of January 31 (a 24-30 hour event). This was produced by a potent weather system, that in particular had a significant amount of moisture for heavy snow and also slowed as it moved over the area, resulting in persistent snow including lake enhanced snow on January 31. This system will bring significant snowfall to the Northeast today and tonight.
  • Impacts were widespread hazardous to even dangerous road conditions on the night of January 30 into the early morning of January 31. This had resulted in numerous auto accidents or slide-offs, relayed through partners and the public to us in the NWS.
  • The official event snowfall for Chicago was 10.8″ observed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Facts about this:
    • Largest snowfall event total in five years, since November 20-21, 2015 (11.2″)
    • Second 6+” snow event in a week. The last time that occurred was early January of 2014
    • The 16.8″ from January 25-31 was the snowiest week in six years…since February 1-7, 2015 (19.9″)
  • The official event snowfall for Rockford was 6.8″ observed at Chicago Rockford International Airport.
  • Other event snowfall amounts include 12.9″ at the NWS Chicago in Romeoville and 11.3″ observed 3 miles southwest of Chicago Midway International Airport.
  • Heavy snowfall rates were key in this event, with rates of 1+” per hour for several hours during mid-evening January 30th into the early overnight. This was highlighted by Chicago O’Hare being 1/4 to 1/2SM visibility in moderate to heavy snow for five straight hours, which is rare to have such a duration!