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Two snowstorms that stand out in my memory were the 1967 “Big Snow” and the “Blizzard of 1979”. How do they compare?
Ira F. Oak Park
The 23-inch Jan. 26-27, 1967, Big Snow is Chicago’s benchmark snowstorm. The snow began falling shortly before 5 a.m. on Jan. 26 and ended just before noon on Jan. 27. Strong northeast winds up to 53 mph created huge drifts, paralyzing the city for more than a week. The Jan. 12-14, 1979, blizzard produced 20.3 inches of snow and at the time was the city’s second heaviest snow. Snow began early in the afternoon of January 12 and finally ended about 2 a.m. on January 14. Winds were not strong during the height of the snowfall, but blizzard conditions set in as the snow waned. Today, the blizzard of ’79 ranks as the city’s fourth heaviest snow, surpassed by the 21.6-inch 1999 New Year’s storm and the 21.2-inch Groundhog Blizzard in 2011.