How often have we had a significant snowfall between March 10th and March 24th?

Dear Tom,
Growing up, my grandmother used to say we often got “a St. Patrick’s Day snowstorm”. How often have we had a significant snowfall between March 10th and March 24th?
—Jim Peters, Bolingbrook

Dear Jim,

As evidenced by this week’s events, Chicago is very susceptible to mid-March snowstorms. Chicago weather historian Frank Wachowski checked the archives for snowfalls of at least two inches during mid-March and found that since 1885, the city has logged 56 days with two or more inches of snow in the March 10-24 timeframe. The biggest snowstorm during this period was 10-inches on March 23-24, 1897. The heaviest snowfall on St. Patrick’s Day was 4.1 inches in 1984. Summing up all snowfall during the two weeks straddling St. Patrick’s Day, the greatest was 15.3 inches in 1965 and the least, numerous years with zero, most recently in 2012.