Chicago Winter Has Arrived Full Force

By , Staff Writer
March 7, 2013; 9:45 AM ET
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A snowstorm dropped a record-breaking 9.2 inches of snow in Chicago on Tuesday. The old daily record breaking snowfall for March 5 was 3.8 inches and was set in 1999.

So much snow fell that travel was impacted, causing 460 arriving flights and 422 departing flights to be canceled at the O'Hare International airport. Chicago Midway International airport had 131 arriving flights canceled and 128 departing flights canceled, according to

The 9.2 inches of snow contributes to the Windy City's current snow total of 26.3 inches through March 6, according to Climatology Supervisor Jim Piro. A complete snow season is measured from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

Compared to last year's snow total through this time period, Chicago hit only 19.8 inches. The average total for the months from July through March is 31.1 inches, Piro said. The entire seasonal average, July1 through June 30, is 36.7 inches.

Graph courtesy of NOAA.

An overall pattern change is to blame for the significant amount of snowfall this year, Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

Last year, the jet stream stayed to the north for much of the season, providing milder conditions for Chicago, Pastelok said. This year, the jet stream took a southern track, which provided cooler conditions and a stormier track for much of the United States.

Storms this season have taken an easterly path, providing the New England area with more snow. The storm track, which was initially predicted to bring the lower Mississippi Valley more storms, has shifted north putting Chicago in the path of snow.

The chance of significant snow amounts in Chicago for the rest of the season is fading. Pastelok said that this weekend there will be a chance of snowfall northwest of the city, with Chicago receiving rain. There may be more storms that impact the Windy City during the middle of March, but rain is more likely than snow.


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