Dear Tom,

What is the least amount of snow Chicago has ever had in a full snowfall season?

Jerod Mast

Dear Jerod,

An average cold season in Chicago produces 35 to 40 inches of snow. The least amount of snow that the city has received in official snowfall records dating back to the winter season of 1884-85 (which is as far back as Chicago’s snowfall records extend) is 9.8 inches in 1920-21 followed by 11.5 inches in the next season, 1921-22. The official weather observation station was located in the Loop in those snow seasons.

Chicago’s official weather observation station has been located at a variety of places since weather observations began in the city in the autumn of 1870: At various Loop locations from October 15, 1870, through 1925; then at the University of Chicago from 1926 through June 30, 1942; then at Midway Airport from July 1, 1942, through January 17, 1980, and from January 18, 1980, to the present time at O’Hare.