The National Weather Service expects the monster nor’easter to dump up to 24 inches of snow in some areas over the weekend, including in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Fortunately, Chicagoans are safe from the storm, this time.
This weekend’s snow dump has stirred many memories of winters past, including the snowmageddon/ snowpocalypse of 2011. The National Weather Service recorded more than 21 inches of snowfall in the Chicago area between Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, which left hundreds of drivers stranded on Lake Shore Drive.
So, how does the blockbuster blizzard of 2016 compare to some of the storms that have swept through Chicago? Here are the top 5 storms that have dropped the most snow in the Windy City:
1. 23.0 inches on Jan. 26-27, 1967
It’s not often that a snowstorm can shut down an entire city and a major international airport. But according to the National Weather Service, that’s exactly what happened in January of 1967. Chicago and O’Hare International Airport were crippled for “several days.” About 20,000 cars and 500 buses were left stranded on roads. The big snow “probably had the greatest impact on the most people in Chicago’s history,” according to the NWS.
2. 21.6 inches on Jan. 1-3, 1999
The new year got off to a very snowy start in 1999. More than 21 inches of snow fell, but early storm preps helped cushion the impact for holiday travelers, according to the NWS.
3. 21.2 inches on Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2011
It felt like a sign that six more weeks of winter was definitely ahead. The “Groundhog Day Blizzard,” also nicknamed snowmageddon or snowpocalypse, snarled traffic on Lake Shore Drive. The storm eventually forced the city to close LSD, leaving drivers, and at least one CTA bus, stranded on the roadway as the snow accumulated.
FLASHBACK: Blizzard of '79
4. 20.3 inches on Jan. 12-14, 1979
The year 1979 brought one of the worst blizzards in Chicago’s history, which ultimately led to the ousting of Mayor Michael Bilandic. Plows were not deployed fast enough, and Bilandic also frustrated African-American voters by ordering CTA trains to skip South Side neighborhoods, according to NBC News. Jane Byrne was voted to replace him as the first woman mayor of Chicago.
5. 19.3 inches on Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2015
As Chicagoans were hunkered down watching the big game on television, crews were busy clearing the big snow outside. More than 16 inches of snow fell on Feb. 1, making it the most snowfall ever for any February day in Chicago, according to the NWS.