What is the city’s longest period without snow cover?

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Dear Tom,
We’ve had very little snow cover this season since our November snowfall. What is the city’s longest period without snow cover?
— Al
Dear Al,
The city’s snow cover records date back to the winter of 1884-85. Defining snow cover as a snow depth of at least 1 inch, the city’s seasonal snow cover records range from 100 days in the blockbuster winter of 1978-79 that produced 89.7 inches of snow to just eight days in the winter of 1948-49 that logged 14.3 inches. We had Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski check the archives and he found that the city’s longest snow-free period spanned 342 days. It started on Feb. 27, 2012, after the last of a 3-inch snow cover melted and did not return until Feb. 3, 2013, when 2 inches covered the ground. In second place is a 313-day period from Feb. 28, 1939, to Jan. 6, 1940.
The archives show that Chicago’s longest snow-free period spanned 342 days.

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