Fast Start to 2015-16 Snow Season — Is Near-Record November a Sign of What's to Come?

Fast Start to 2015-16 Snow Season — Is Near-Record November a Sign of What’s to Come?

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The National Weather Service-Chicago says we’ve had a fast start to the 2015-16 snow season, despite the overall warmth and the sunny skies that might be overhead as you read this.

Kane County had a near-record November following the Nov. 20-21 snowstorm that produced 11.2 inches of snow at O’Hare Airport, which is the official site for Chicago. That goes with the 8.8 inches recorded at Rockford Airport.

As a result, 2015 officially hosted the fourth-snowiest November on record, dating back to 1884 in Chicago, and the third-snowiest November dating back to 1906 in Rockford.

The Dec. 1-2 snowfall added another 1.3 inches at O’Hare and .9 inches at Rockford Airport, bringing the season totals to 12.5 inches in Chicago and and 9.7 in Rockford.

Through Dec. 2, this is the fifth-snowiest overall in Chicago. The rankings, as you can see in the chart above, are:

  • 1940 — 16.3 inches
  • 1895 — 16 inches
  • 1978 — 15.3 inches
  • 1951 — 14.3 inches
  • 2015 — 12.5 inches

So, More Snow Coming This Year?

Not necessarily.

“The conclusion should not be drawn from seasonal snowfall totals of the other years on the lists that this season will be well above normal,” the NWS-C says.”Statistically speaking, the fast start has increased the chance for the snowfall season to finish near or above normal in Chicago and Rockford. … However, we cannot rule out the opposite occurring (in a season that) remains favored to finish up milder than normal overall.”

Basically, a season’s snow totals can be greatly effected by a one- or two-day event. That was the case last year, when we got the big dump on Feb. 1-2. That storm “played a large role in the near to above-normal overall season totals for the area.,” the NWS-C said.

A great example of a big snowstorm during a mild winter was the 1998-99 season, which was the 20th warmest winter on record in Chicago but finished with 50.9 inches of snow — largely due to the 21.6 inches that fell in the Jan. 1-3 blizzard.

Read More From the National Weather Service Chicago

SOURCE: National Weather Service-Chicago