Dear Tom,

As a kid in the late 1980s I remember going to sleep with the ground bare, but waking up to thunder and lightning and so much snow that school was canceled. When was that?

Bonnie  Cutler

Dear Bonnie,

The storm occurred in the early-morning hours of Dec. 15, 1987, when the Chicago area was hit by a full-scale blizzard that dropped 8-12 inches of heavy, wet snow. The snow was accompanied by prolonged periods of thunder, lightning, and strong northeast winds gusting in excess of 60 mph, which piled the snow into huge drifts. At the height of the storm, snow fell at the rate of 2 inches an hour with near zero visibility. The storm was responsible for 26 deaths, most of them from heart attacks brought on by the strain of shoveling the heavy, wet and slushy snow. That storm has been dubbed Chicago’s “heart attack” snowstorm.