The winter of 1981-82

Dear Tom,
I remember a winter where the temps plummeted but there was limited snow, allowing the ground to freeze deep enough to burst the water main supplying our house in Sauganash. Any thoughts on which year it might have been?


Thanks,
Mary Beth Grant
Palatine

Dear Mary Beth,

It was the winter of 1981-82 when severe cold swept into the area beginning Jan. 7 with subzero readings on 11 of 12 mornings, including minus 26 on January 10, at that time, the city’s all-time record low. Typically, substantial snow cover accompanies severe cold, but this time, snow cover was minimal, just an inch or two. Without the insulating effect of a deep snow cover, the city’s freeze depth reached about 5.5 feet, below the five-foot level of most water mains, resulting in many frozen or damaged water mains. More damage occurred during the spring thaw, a result of ground upheaval.

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