Did Chicago’s 1967 “Big Snow” actually qualify as a blizzard?

Ask Tom Why?

Dear Tom,

Did Chicago’s 1967 “Big Snow” actually qualify as a blizzard?

—Michael J. Pesek, Shorewood

Dear Michael,

It sure did. To be classified as a blizzard, a winter storm must produce sustained winds or frequent gusts of at least 35 mph and visibilities of 1/4 mile or less for a minimum of three hours. The city’s biggest-ever snowstorm qualified with ease. The visibility dropped to 1/4 mile at 7:20 am on the morning of Jan. 26 and remained there until 4:37 pm, when it finally increased to 1/2 mile. Winds were consistently gusting above 35 mph, with the highest sustained wind, 41 mph, and the highest gust, 53 mph, all from the NE. During part of that period, the snow accumulated at a rate of two inches an hour. Thundersnow was observed at Meigs Field. The storm delivered 23.0 inches of snow, producing widespread drifts of 4-6 feet with some as high as 15 feet.

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