Chicago sees biggest snowfall this late in the season in more than 50 years

By Adriana Navarro, AccuWeather staff writer
April 15, 2019, 4:54:19 PM EDT


Spring arrived weeks ago in the Windy City, but then on Sunday winter made an abrupt return bringing significant snowfall to Chicago as well as places in Missouri, Indiana and Michigan.

Chicago's O'Hare Airport was whitened by 5.3 inches of snow on Sunday. That made April 14 one of the top-two snowiest days this late in the season. The snowiest day in the city's history from April 14 to early May is 5.4 inches of snow on April 16, 1961.

It was enough to bring Chicago O'Hare and Chicago Midway airports to a ground stop for arriving flights, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). O'Hare canceled 436 flights on Sunday amid snow and ice, according to Flight Aware.

The latest trace of snow recorded in Chicago occured on June 2, 1910.

(Patrick Gorski / USA TODAY Sports)

Snow and rain canceled the game between the Los Angeles Angels at Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 14, 2019.

(Twitter/@rjhiker)

Snow began to fall earlier Sunday morning over Jefferson City, Missouri.

(Twitter/@mikealper)

The severe weather that swept through Texas earlier turned to snow, tracking through Elmhurst, Illinois, on Sunday morning.

(Twitter/Katie Gulas)

Snow blankets Joliet, Illinois by late Sunday morning.

(Twitter/@ChefHarlie)

Snowfall over Douglas, Michigan.

(Twitter/@AGNews_Otto)

Snow whitens Lee County on Palm Sunday.


In the Windy City, the snowy weather caused the postponement of a Major League Baseball game between the Cubs and the Los Angeles Angels. A day earlier, the two teams played under gorgeous conditions, according to photos posted by the Cubs on Twitter, as the daytime high temperature hit 52 degrees Fahrenheit. On Sunday, the high temperature in Chicago was 39 F.

"Temperatures are expected to climb back into the upper 40s and 50s Fahrenheit on Monday where it was snowing on Sunday," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

The Palm Sunday storm dumped a range of 4 to 8.5 inches of snow on places in eastern Iowa, northwest and west central Illinois, northeast Missouri and near the Wisconsin border. Amid the snow and the wind, at least 19,252 people lost power in Missouri alone. Across the states where the snow fell, about 25,414 customers experienced power outages.

On Monday, as the cloud cover cleared and the air temperature rose, time-lapse satellite imagery from NOAA showed the snow that fell Sunday on Chicago and the surrounding area beginning to melt.

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The snow was triggered by the same system that unleashed a deadly outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes across the South.

Correction: A previous headline on this story suggested this was Chicago's latest seasonal snowfall. The latest measurable snowfall since 1961 occurred in May 6, 1989 when .5 inches was measured. Sunday's snow in Chicago was the biggest snowfall this late in the season since 1961.

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