Dear Tom,

A local furniture chain is offering free furniture if it snows four inches or more on February 12. Has that ever happened?

Bill Coventry

Dear Bill,

It has happened, but not as often as you might think, since mid-February is still well in the heart of Chicago’s snow season. We had Chicago climatologist and weather historian Frank Wachowski check the city’s snowfall records for that date, all the way back to 1885. Wachowski noted that over the period of record, there has been four on more inches of snow on February 12 on just two occasions- 7.9 inches in 1894 and 7.0 inches in 1896. The next biggest snowfall on that date was just 2.9 inches in 1979. Weather-based promotions like this are common, and the stores usually take out an insurance policy to cover their losses, should the snowfall actually occur. Just for fun, we had Wachowski check to see what dates of the year hosted the most four-inch plus snows. The winners were January 9, January 26 and February 6, each with five occurrences.