The winter of 1976-77 was severe. Was it Chicago’s coldest winter? If not, which winter was, and how much snow fell that winter?

Dear Tom,
The winter of 1976-77 was severe. Was it Chicago’s coldest winter? If not, which winter was, and how much snow fell that winter?
— Garrett Ryan, Mokena
Dear Garrett,
Chicago’s average winter temperature (December, January, February) is 26.4 degrees; its average seasonal snowfall is 37.2 inches. The winter of 1976-77 was indeed severe, but it was neither the city’s coldest winter nor its snowiest. Chicago’s coldest winter was 1903-04, with an average temperature of 18.3 degrees and total seasonal snowfall of 59.5 inches (ninth snowiest). The winter of 1976-77, at 18.7 degrees, ranks third coldest, with full-season snowfall of 54.1 inches (19th snowiest).
Looking at the entire cold season, Nov. 1 through March 31: The coldest was 1892-93, at 25 degrees and 31.5 inches of snow; 1976-77 was 13th coldest, 26.8 degrees, and 19th snowiest with 54.1 inches.
Chicago’s coldest winter was 1903-04, with an average temperature of 18.3 degrees.

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