The first snowfall of the season isn’t supposed to be this bad.
Chicagoans are used to easing in slowly to winter. Not this year.
This weekend’s snowstorm slammed Chicago with the city’s biggest-ever first snowfall of the season, according to the National Weather Service.
O’Hare Airport, the city’s official recording station, was hit with 11.2 inches of snow between Friday night and Saturday, with seven inches on Saturday alone.
Some of the north and northwest suburbs were hit even harder, with nearly 17 inches measured in Mundelein and just under 15 inches in Northbrook.
The weather service keeps track of first snowfalls by single calendar date — from midnight to midnight. It doesn’t keep records for two-day snowfalls.
The record single-day first snowfall for Chicago was Nov. 15, 1940, when 4.8 inches was recorded, according to meteorologist Eric Lenning.
But the 4.2 inches that fell at O’Hare on Friday was the fourth-largest first calendar-day snowfall ever recorded in Chicago, Lenning said. And none of the bigger storms was followed by as much snow as the seven inches recorded at O’Hare on Saturday, he said.
“I think it was really surprising since we’ve had such a warm November,” Lenning said.
This weekend’s two-day snowfall was the second-snowiest November storm in Chicago in120 years, falling short by less than an inch of the 12 inches recorded Nov. 25-26, 1895, according to the weather service.
Much of the snow that fell through early Saturday soon melted, but the storm picked up again Saturday afternoon.
The snow caused hundreds of flight cancellations at O’Hare and Midway and more delays, according to the city Department of Aviation.
The forecast for Sunday calls for a high of just 28 degrees — but no new snow and not for the next several days, until the day after Thanksgiving.
Selected Friday-Saturday snow totals around Chicago
A screen displays flight status information Saturday at O’Hare Airport as the area was hit with a record first snowfall of the season. AP photo