Chicago Nearing Record for Latest First Measurable Snowfall. Will the City Break It?

Anyone miss scraping snow off your windshield?

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The Chicago area traditionally sees its first snowfall in mid-November, but with that date well past, the city is quickly approaching a historic milestone in that category.

According to the National Weather Service, the average date for the city of Chicago’s first measurable snowfall, defined as receiving at least one-tenth of an inch of snow, is Nov. 18.

This year, the city blew by that date, despite having several days of frigid weather and multiple instances of precipitation, and is now approaching the latest “first snowfall” that it has ever seen.

If Chicago makes it through the end of Thursday without seeing any snow, as is expected, then it will officially be at least the second-latest first snowfall since NWS began keeping records of the event in 1909.

The focus will then turn to Dec. 20, which is the current record holder for latest first snowfall. That mark was set in 2012, and the city of Chicago could very well challenge that mark this year.

There is, however, one final chance of seeing that first snowfall before then. According to the NBC 5 Storm Team, snow showers are possible Saturday morning in the Chicago area, which could potentially deny the city the all-time record just two days before reaching that milestone.

If snow doesn’t fall on that date, then the record will likely fall, as the city is forecasted to remain dry through at least Christmas Day, according to current forecast models.

As we wait with breathless anticipation to see if the record will fall, here are some fun facts about snow in Chicago.

What's Chicago's Average Snowfall for an Entire Season?


Chicago's Earliest First Measurable Snowfall

According to the National Weather Service in Chicago, the earliest first measurable snowfall in the city was Oct. 16, 2006.

Latest Measurable Snowfalls in The Chicago Area, Dating Back to 1909

  • Dec. 20, 2012
  • Dec. 16, 1965
  • Dec. 14, 2001
  • Dec. 12, 2003
  • Dec. 10, 2003
  • Dec. 9, 2011
  • Dec. 9, 1948
  • Dec. 7, 1914
  • Dec. 6, 1994
  • Dec. 5, 1984
  • Dec. 5, 1944
  • Dec. 5 1909
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