Does it snow in Chicago?

Does it snow in Chicago? The answer is a resounding yes. The Windy City is characterized by cold winters, whit an average annual snowfall of close to or greater than 36 inches of accumulation.

Known as the Windy City, Chicago (the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous in the United States) stands out as one of the main hubs for finance, commerce, industry, education, telecommunications, and information technology in America.

Curious fact

Chicago is considered the capital of futures contracts, as the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) would be in charge of issuing, in 1864, the first standardized futures contracts in the world.

Apart from having the third highest gross domestic product in the United States, Chicago also has some of the most beautiful architecture and urban planning in its country. No wonder, every year, millions of tourists flock to the Windy City to enjoy its skyscrapers and buildings.

Curious fact

In 2018, Chicago set a new tourism record after receiving 58 million visitors that year: a considerably high figure compared to those registered in other metropolises in the United States.

In short, Chicago is not only a paradise for passionate entrepreneurs but also tourists and, especially, for lovers of architecture, visual arts, and music. Therefore, we recommend your visit, especially during the winter, because, perhaps, you can enjoy a White Christmas during your stay in Chicago.


    Snow in Chicago?

    Snow in Chicago

    Although Chicago tends to experience less intense and frequent snowfall than other metropolises near the Great Lakes, such as Cleveland (Ohio) and Buffalo (New York), they are far superior to cities near the East Coast of the United States.

    Curious fact

    Throughout its history, Chicago has experienced varying levels of seasonal snowfall, ranging from 9.8 inches in the winter of 1920-1921 to 89.7 inches in the winter of 1978-1979.

    Noteworthy, approximately every three winters, Chicago experiences intense snow storms, which can produce accumulation levels close to or greater than 10 inches on average in less than 72 hours.

    In short, yes, it snows in Chicago. While it doesn't snow as heavily as in cities within the Snow Belt, it does snow often enough to experience back-to-back White Christmases.

    The climate of Chicago


    General characteristics

    Köppen climate classification

    According to the Köppen climate classification, Chicago has a continental hot-summer humid climate (Dfa), in which four different seasons can be distinguished throughout the year.

    Summer weather behavior

    • Summers are hot and humid.
    • Heat waves are frequent.
    • July is the hottest month of the year. On average, high temperatures reach 96 °F (35.5 °C) during this month.
    • Temperatures greater than or equal to 90°F (32.2 °C) are possible during 23 days of the year in Ohio.

    Winter weather behavior

    • Winters are relatively cold and snowy.
    • Snow is a recurring phenomenon in Chicago, especially in the eastern Great Lakes region.
    • Winter days are not cloudy in Chicago. Indeed, these days are sunny, although they keep being cold.

    Spring and autumn weather behavior

    • Both seasons, spring and autumn, are mild, short, and not very humid. Although, perhaps, spring is slightly stormier than autumn.
    • During spring, occasional hail and thunderstorms are possible.

    Rainfall and storms behavior

    • Thunderstorms are a regular phenomenon in Chicago. Indeed, this city receives 38 storms per year approximately.
    • From thunderstorms to tornadoes, Chicago is vulnerable to different weather events, especially during the summer.

    Technical characteristics

    Summer weather characteristics

    • Highest record temperature: 41 °F / 5 °C (July 24th, 1934.)
    • Mean maximum: 93.73 °F (34.3 °C.)
    • Average high: 81.5 °F (27.5 °C.)
    • Average low: 64.23 °F (17.9 °C.)
    • Mean minimum: 52.63 °F (11.46 °C.)
    • Average precipitation per summer month: 3.99 inches (10.1 cm.)
    • Average precipitation days per summer month (≥ 0.01 inches): 9.7  days.

    Winter weather characteristics

    • Lowest record temperature: -27 °F / -32.7 °C (January 20th, 1985.)
    • Mean maximum: 60.2 °F (15.6 °C.)
    • Average high: 38.8 °F (3.7 °C.)
    • Average low: 24.93 °F (-3.92 °C.)
    • Mean minimum: 4.95 °F (-15 °C.)
    • Average precipitation per winter month: 2.35 inches (5.9 cm.)
    • Average precipitation days per winter month (≥ 0.01 inches): 10.7 days.

    Precipitation and other weather characteristics

    • Average annual precipitation per year: 40.88 inches ()
    • Average precipitation days per year (≥0.01 inches or 0.25 mm): 127 days.
    • Average annual snowfall per year: 38.8 inches (98.5 cm.)
    • Average snowy days per year (≥0.1 inches): 28.2 days.
    • Average storms per year: 38 times.

    When does it snow in Chicago? 🌨

    Snow in Chicago

    Does it snow in Chicago in October?

    Yes, it might snow in October. Although, hopefully, you will only be able to see 4-5 hours of measurable snowfall throughout the month. Generally, these first snowfalls barely reach 0.1 inches of accumulation on average.

    Does it snow in Chicago in November?

    Yes, it does! From this month, generally, snowfalls increase both in intensity and frequency. On average, Chicago records just over 150 hours of measurable snowfall during November, reaching an inch and a half of snow accumulation.

    Does it snow in Chicago in December?

    Yes, it does! Once winter begins, the frequency and intensity of Chicago's snowfall increase by 40% to 50%, easily exceeding 7.5 inches of snow accumulation and 150 hours of measurable snowfall (above 0.1 inches) on average.

    Curious fact

    For two consecutive Christmases, in 2016 and 2017, the citizens of Chicago enjoyed a White Christmas.

    Does it snow in Chicago in January?

    Yes, it does! In January, Chicago receives, on average, 12.5 inches of snow during just over 213 hours of active snowfall. Generally, January is the snowiest month in Chicago.

    Does it snow in Chicago in February?

    Yes, it does! As far as snowfall is concerned, February exhibits a behavior similar to January, with an accumulation of snow more significant than 10 inches on average, which spread over just over 150 hours throughout the month.

    Does it snow in Chicago in March?

    Yes, it does! Once winter ends, snowfall decreases by approximately 50% compared to the previous month; however, the average snow accumulation continues to be greater than 5 inches.

    Does it snow in Chicago in April?

    Yes, it might snow. April is the last month of the winter season in Chicago. On average, Chicago records just over 21 hours of measurable snowfall and at least an inch of accumulation.

    How much does it snow in Chicago? 🌨

    Next, we present an informative table on different climatological parameters of Chicago, which includes average snowfall and the average snowy days expressed in inches:

    Average low (°F)19.522.932.041.752.462.768.166.959.246.835.225.344.4
    Record low (°F) −25−20−710283546432920−3−20−25
    Average precipitation (inches)2.302.122.664.154.754.534.024.103.333.862.732.3340.88
    Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inches)11.59.411.112.012.411.
    Average snowfall (inches)12.510.
    Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 inches)

    Informative table on different climatological parameters of Chicago

    The above data comes from climatic data provided by Chicago's Midway International Airport (MDW).

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