What was the worst day in Chicago for lowest temperature and most snow?

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Dear Tom,
What was the worst day in Chicago for lowest temperature and most snow?

Justin Phillips, Evanston

Dear Justin,
Typically, Chicago’s coldest days don’t produce much snow, as moisture is limited. On Jan. 20, 1985, when the city recorded its all-time low of minus-27, there was just a trace of snow. Dec. 24, 1983, the city’s coldest day (average temperature minus-18 with a high/low of -11/-25) was snow-free. Chicago weather historian Frank Wachowski found a notable exception. On Feb. 6-7, 1895, a major snowstorm struck the city, bringing 13.4 inches of snow that fell with very low temperatures (high/low 5/1 on Feb. 6 and 7/-5 on Feb. 7). The snowflakes were fine and drifted in the gusty 40-mph northeast winds. A Chicago Tribune report described the snow texture as a fine white meal, the kind of snow that falls in Manitoba.

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