As I've said, the recent snowstorm was simply a blip around here, compared with big snowstorms of the past. In 1999 we had an innundation of really wet, heavy snow. The Farmer was in Florida and I was left with the clean up. It took me two days to clear the driveway. The task involved shoveling off an entire top layer to get it down to a point that the tractor could deal with it and even the plowing was a tedious process. Since the snow was so heavy the only technique that worked was to shave a few inches off the sides of the packed snow.
The big kahuna snowfall happened back in 1967. I was a 19 year old college student at the time and luckily I didn't have classes the day of the snowfall or I would have spent the night in the city, sleeping on a couch in the student union.
We had been experiencing very wierd weather. The week before the temperature had dropped to -13 and on January 24th it was 65 degrees with wind gusts of 50 mph. Meterologists were tracking a development that promised snow. Here's the official weather forecast for the Chicago area at 3:45 a.m.
ISSUED AT 345 AM THURSDAY JANUARY 26
...HEAVY SNOW WARNING...
TODAY...SNOW WITH ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 INCHES OR MORE BY THIS AFTERNOON. HIGH IN THE LOWER 30S. NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION GREATER THAN 90 PERCENT. TONIGHT...SNOW DIMINISHING OR ENDING. COLDER WITH THE LOW NEAR 20. NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 80 PERCENT.
It soon became evident to the forecasters that the snow would be a little more significant and they changed the forecast.
ISSUED AT 945 AM THURSDAY JANUARY 26
...HEAVY SNOW WARNING...
TODAY...AN ADDITIONAL 4 TO 8 INCHES. WINDY WITH STEADY TEMPERATURES. NORTHEAST WINDS 25 TO 35 MPH. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 100 PERCENT.
TONIGHT...SNOW DIMINISHING AND ENDING. COLDER WITH THE LOW 10 TO 15. NORTH TO NORTHWEST WINDS 15 TO 30 MPH. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 50 PERCENT.
Here's what Columbus Drive in Chicago looked like the following day.
The snow fell so fast and heavy that traffic was hopelessly snarled. People were force to abandon their cars and walk to the nearest place of shelter.
Cars were totally buried.
It was a gigantic mess that brought a great city to a grinding halt.
This looks like the neighborhood where the Farmer was raised. The brick bungalows were built very close together, creating a gangway between the houses.
The gangways were literally filled with snow.
Commuters wait for buses that will never arrive.
What do you notice about that picture? The women are all wearing skirts!!! That's right. Back in 1967 pants were not allowed at work. Dresses and skirts only! Pantsuits came a couple years later. I remember you'd be fired if you dared to show up to work in a pair of pants. We'd would wear them in casual settings but that was all.
Kids made the most of the storm. Here some kids play around a buried car.
My own brother repeatedly jumped off the second story porch roof onto the huge piles of snow beneath.
The snowfall was recorded at 23 inchees in 24 hours. But that wasn't the end of it. A few days later we got more snow and then more again. In the 11 day period from January 26 to February 5th we received 36.5 inches!
Now that may not be alot compared to some mountain regions that get snowfall in the hundreds of inches, but in a large metropolitan area it creates major problems. The biggest problem was, where do you put that much snow? As you can see in the picture of the woman shoveling, after awhile you can't possibly fling the snow up high enough on the pile. The City of Chicago finally had to load the snow into trucks and dump it into the Chicago River.
It was quite an experience, and one that I will never forget.