Has the duration of snow cover declined?
Has the duration of snow cover declined? I remember playing in the snow much of the winter in the ’80s.
— Skip Talbot, Springfield, Ill.
Your childhood winters did provide many snow-covered days, with the top four winters, based on days of snow cover, occurring in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski provided snow cover statistics dating to the winter of 1884-85 and found that in a typical winter, the city logs 43 days with at least 1 inch of snow cover. The winter of 1978-79 not only produced the most snow, with 89.7 inches, but also the most days of snow cover, which spanned 100 consecutive days from Nov. 26-March 5. Other winters with many days of snow cover were 1977-78, with 93; 1981-82, with 91; and 1983-84, with 85. Our most comparable recent winter was in 2013-14, which had snow cover on 84 days.