National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Chicago’s Precipitation Records

 

Wettest and Driest Years and Months
 
Wettest Year 2008 with 50.86"
Driest Year 1962 with 22.22"
   
Wettest Month August 1987 with 17.10"
Driest Month September 1979 with 0.01"

 


Greatest Rainfall Amounts
 
24 hours 9.35" - August 13-14, 1987
12 hours 8.35" - August 13-14, 1987
6 hours 5.95" - August 13-14, 1987
2 hours 4.29" - June 13, 1976
60 minutes 3.34" - June 13, 1976
30 minutes 2.35" - July 20, 1978
20 minutes 2.21" - July 20, 1978
15 minutes 2.14" - July 20, 1978
10 minutes 1.97" - July 20, 1978
5 minutes 1.29" - April 24, 1976

 


Greatest Consecutive Number of Days without Precipitation
 
22 days September 2-23, 1979
21 days February 1-21, 1877

 


Chicago's Top Ten Wettest and Driest Years
 
2008 50.86" 1. 1962 22.22"
2011 49.83" 2. 1956 22.23"
1983 49.35" 3. 1934 22.78"
1970 46.09" 4. 1930 22.34"
1954 45.92" 5. 2005 24.09"
1883 45.86" 6. 1901 24.53"
2001 45.77" 7. 1917 24.66"
1993 44.90" 8. 1897 25.85"
1982 44.68" 9. 1904 26.14"
1885 44.37" 10. 1958 & 1944 26.35"

 


Chicago's Top Ten Wettest and Driest Months
 
Aug 1987 17.10" 1. Sep 1979 0.01"
Sep 1961 14.17" 2. Feb 1877 0.06"
Sep 2008 13.63" 3. Jan 1981 0.10"
Aug 2001 12.25" 4. Jun 1922 0.12"
Oct 1954 12.06" 5. Feb 1920 0.13"
Aug 1885 11.28" 6. Apr 1899 0.14"
Jul 2011 11.15" 7. Dec 1896 0.16"
Jun 1892 10.58" 8. Oct 1897 0.18"
Jun 1993 9.96" 9. Aug 1893 0.18"
Aug 2007 9.70" 10. Feb 2003 0.19"

 


Chicago's Ten Greatest and Least Snowfall - Seasonal Totals
 
1978-1979 89.7" 1. 1920-1921 9.8"
1977-1978 82.3" 2. 1921-1922 11.5"
2013-2014 82.0" 3. 1936-1937 12.0"
1969-1970 77.0" 4. 1948-1949 14.3"
1966-1967 68.4" 5. 1898-1899 18.0"
1951-1952 66.4" 6. 1901-1902 18.2"
1917-1918 64.1" 7. 1924-1925 18.9"
2007-2008 60.3" 8. 1914-1915 19.0"
1964-1965 59.5" 9. 1912-1913 19.0"
1903-1904 59.5" 10. 2011-2012 19.8"

 


Chicago's Ten Greatest and Least Snowfall - Winter Months (Dec-Feb)
 
1978-1979 80.6" 1. 1930-1931 5.7"
1977-1978 71.2" 2. 1936-1937 6.3"
2013-2014 67.4" 3. 1921-1922 7.1"
1917-1918 59.9" 4. 1920-1921 7.9"
1966-1967 58.1" 5. 1898-1899 8.8"
2010-2011 55.8" 6. 1889-1890 11.0"
1973-1974 54.2" 7. 1905-1906 11.6"
2009-2010 52.4" 8. 1912-1913 11.6"
2007-2008 52.1" 9. 1890-1891 11.7"
1961-1962 50.0" 10. 1931-1932 13.1"

 


Greatest and Least Snowfall (Monthly Data)
 
January 1918 42.5"   January 1928 0.2"
February 2011 29.0"   February 1987/1998/2017 Trace
March 1926 23.1   March 1910/1921/1994/1997/2000 Trace
April 1938 13.6"   April ** Zero
May 1940 2.2"   May ** Zero
June 1910 * Trace   June ** Zero
September 1928/1942 Trace   September ** Zero
October 1989 6.3"   October ** Zero
November 1940 14.8"   November 1999/2001 Zero
December 1951 33.3"   Dec 1889/1912/2014 Trace

* Snow pellets occurred with shallow-topped cold core convection around 6:32 am

(Note:  Hail was not included as snowfall until after July 1948)

** Numerous Years

 


Greatest Snow Depth (Monthly Data)
 
January 14, 1979 29"   September 25, 1942 and 1928 Trace
February 6-7, 1967 28"   October 20, 1989 3"
March 26, 1930 17"   November 26, 1895 12"
April 4, 1926 11"   December 25-26, 1951 17"
May 2, 1940 1"   December 30-31, 2000 17"
June 2, 1910 Trace      

 


Snowfall Stats
 
For the first snowfall of the season:
Trace or More:  
     Average Date: October 30th
     Earliest: September 25, 1942 (Trace)
September 25, 1928 (Trace)
     Latest: December 5, 1999 (0.1 inches)
   
Measurable: (01 inches or more)
     Average Date: November 16th
     Earliest: October 12, 2006  (0.3 inches)
     Latest: December 20, 2012  (0.2 inches)
   
One Inch or More:
     Average Date: December 2nd
     Earliest: October 19, 1989  (3.8 inches)
     Latest: January 25, 2013  (1.1 inches)
 
For the last snowfall of the season:
Trace or More:  
     Average Date: April 20th
     Earliest: March 9, 1946  (0.1 inches)
     Latest: June 2, 1910 (Trace)
   
Measurable: (0.1 inches or more)
     Average Date: April 3rd
     Earliest: February 27, 1997  (0.5 inches)
     Latest: May 11, 1966  (0.2 inches)
   
One Inch or More:
     Average Date: March 19
     Earliest: January 18, 1927  (1.3 inches)
     Latest: May 3, 1907  (1.3 inches)

 


Snowfall of 10 Inches or More for the Calendar Day
 
January 2, 1999 18.6"   February 28, 1900 11.3"
January 13, 1979 16.5"   December 12, 1903 11.3"
January 26, 1967 16.4"   February 18, 2000 11.1"
February 1, 2015 16.2"   February 3, 1896 11.0"
January 30, 1939 14.9"   December 20, 1960 11.0"
January 6, 1918 14.4"   December 10, 1934 10.9"
February 1, 2011 13.6"   March 7, 1931 10.9"
March 25, 1930 13.6"   February 3, 1901 10.8"
February 9, 2010 12.6"   December 23, 1961 10.2"
March 2, 1954 11.5"   December 27, 1894 10.1"
February 18, 1908 11.5"   December 14, 1951 10.0"

 


Snowfall of 10 Inches or More - Storm  Total
 
January 31-February 2, 2015 19.3"
January 31-February 2, 2011 21.2"
January 21-23, 2005 11.2"
January 30-31, 2002 12.0"
February 18, 2000 11.1"
January 1-3, 1999 21.6"
February 10-11, 1981 11.2"
January 13-14, 1979 18.8"
February 6-7, 1978 10.3"
January 25-27, 1978 12.4"
January 9-10, 1977 10.9"
April 1-2, 1970 10.7"
March 25-26, 1970 14.3"
December 22-23, 1969 11.3"
January 26-27, 1967 23.0"
February 23-25, 1965 11.5"
December 22-23, 1961 11.7"
December 19-20, 1960 12.5"
March 2-3, 1954 11.8"
December 14, 1951 10.0"
December 5-8, 1950 13.3"
December 10-11, 1944 10.9"
January 30, 1939 14.9"
December 9-10, 1934 11.3"
February 6-7, 1933 12.7"
March 7-8, 1931 16.2"
March 25-26, 1930 19.2"
December 17-20, 1929 15.0"
March 30-31, 1926 12.6"
January 6-7, 1918 14.9"
January 12-14, 1910 10.2"
February 18-19, 1908 12.8"
December 12-13, 1903 11.6"
February 3-5, 1901 12.7"
February 28, 1900 11.3"
March 23-24, 1897 10.0"
February 12-13, 1896 12.0"
February 3-4, 1896 12.5"
November 25-26, 1895 12.0"
February 6-7, 1895 13.4"
December 27, 1894 10.1"
February 12-14, 1894 11.0"
January 18-20, 1886 14.0"

 


Chicago's Ten Biggest Snowstorms
 
1. 23.0 inches on January 26-27, 1967
2. 21.6 inches on January 1-3, 1999
3. 21.2 inches on January 31-February 2, 2011
4. 20.3 inches on January 12-14, 1979
5. 19.3 inches on January 31-February 2, 2015
6. 19.2 inches on March 25-26, 1930
7. 16.2 inches on March 7-8, 1931
8. 14.9 inches on January 30, 1939
9. 14.9 inches on January 6-7, 1918
10. 14.8 inches on December 17-19, 1929

There have been 43 10-inch snows in Chicago's history. Snow records began in 1886. A 10-inch snow occurs about once every 3 years. Closest back-to-back 10-inch snows were March 25-26 and April 1-2, 1970 (6 days).  The longest stretch without a big snow was February 10-11, 1981 to January 1-3, 1999 (almost 18 years!)