How Did Ground Hog Day Blizzard Rank for Chicago Snowstorms? It’s Official 3rd All-Time


Yardstick showing 21 inches in for a snow depth/snow cover measurement. The ground where the yardstick was located already had a 4-inch snow cover before the blizzard and pre-blizzard snow disturbance.

The 20.2 inches that fell with the Ground Hog Day Blizzard of 2011 brought the third largest snowfall in Chicago history. The blizzard was the biggest snowstorm ever in the month of February. Here is a list of the top ten snows in Chicago:

1.  23.0 inches Jan 26-27, 1967
2. 21.6 inches Jan 1-3, 1999
3. 20.2 inches Feb 1-2, 2011
4. 19.2 inches Mar 25-26, 1930
5. 18.8 inches Jan 13-14, 1979
6. 16.2 inches Mar 7-8, 1931
7. 15.0 inches Dec 17-20, 1929
8. 14.9 inches Jan 30, 1939
9. 14.9 inches Jan 6-7, 1918
10. 14.3 inches Mar 25-26, 1970

Record breaking snow is reported at 13.6 inches at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for the calendar date February 1 (not the whole storm period), which was previously set at 4.0 inches on February 1, 1967. The record also tops any calendar date record for the entire month of February, which was previously 11.5 inches, which occurred on February 18, 1908.


Snowfall records for Chicago date back to 1886. O’Hare Airport is the official observing site for Chicago.

Blizzard February 2-3, 2011
National Weather Service Office Chicago snowfall map showing Arlington Heights in a 15 to18 inch range (dark purple). The heaviest snow fell in Lake County, Illinois, Kenosha County and Racine County.


SNOW-STUNNED: Stranded motorists, firefighters on snowmobiles, and an urban coyote walking the streets of Chicago during the blizzard.