Was an all-time record April low set in April, 1982?

Dear Tom,

With our recent wintry weather, I’m reminded of April 1982 when I think Chicago’s set its all-time record April low. Is that correct?

Larry Pavia,
Franklin Park

Dear Larry,

It is and is testament to the powerful cooling attributes of a fresh snow cover. Twenty-nine of Chicago’s 30 record April lows fall in the 15 to 31 degree range, with the exception of the 7-degree record established on April 7, 1982. That frigid reading came in the wake of a late-season snowstorm that brought 8-12 inches of snow to the area. The arctic surge that followed, coupled with clear skies and the fresh snow cover sent the mercury plunging to the single-digit record, shattering the date’s previous 22-degree record low set in 1936. A similar scenario brought record sub-zero lows to central Illinois earlier this month on April 2 with minus 1 at Lincoln and minus 2 at Paxton.