ASK TOM

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGO WEATHER CENTER - Write to: ASK TOM 2501 W. Bradley Place Chicago, IL 60618 ask­[email protected]

Dear Tom,

Two days be­fore Chicago’s 23-inch bliz­zard of Jan­uary 1967, con­di­tions were un­sea­son­ably warm. Did that have any­thing to do with the amount of snow that fell?

David Wech­sler,

Glen­view

Dear David,

The warmth sent Chicago-area tem­per­a­tures surg­ing to a 65-de­gree record high on Jan. 24 and un­doubt­edly added to the sever­ity of the storm. The warm air flood­ing into the Mid­west fed large amounts of mois­ture into the sys­tem, fu­el­ing se­vere thun­der­storms and heavy rain­fall. When the cold air ar­rived, the sharply con­trast­ing temps re­sulted in rapid cy­clo­ge­n­e­sis (storm for­ma­tion), and with large amounts of mois­ture in the air, heavy snow be­gan to fall. The storm’s first wave pro­duced about a foot; an un­ex­pected sec­ond low-pres­sure sys­tem formed, nearly dou­bling the snow to­tals.

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