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Chicago had a rare first snowfall in October and the snowiest Halloween in history

The end of October saw low temps, record snow, and high winds

A neighborhood with brick homes and light snow on the ground covering fall leaves.
A West Town neighborhood street on the morning of November 1, 2019 after a blistery first snow in Chicago.
Curbed staff

In Chicago, October comes to an end with the very first snowfall of the season and the snowiest Halloween on record.

Although, it doesn’t take much to beat the 0.1 inch of recorded snow that fell in 2014. By Thursday morning measurements at O’Hare Airport had recorded .2, and meteorologists expected that the city might get an inch total.

By midday it was clear that the high winds and consistent precipitation might bring a bit more than that. A total of 3.4 inches of snow in Chicago fell on Thursday—that’s the second heaviest snowfall in October (right behind 3.8 inches on October 19, 1989).

While “it’s not unheard of to get a good amount of snow” around this time of year, it hasn’t happened in a while, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jake Petr in Romeoville.

In the heart of the city, temperatures can be slightly warmer so it is common for those living near the lakefront to see a mix of rain and snow, he said. Residents further west and into the suburbs can usually expect higher snowfall totals.

However, the cold arriving in Chicago right now is 15 to 20 degrees below average for the season. On Friday, the 6 a.m. temperature for Chicago was 23 degrees which is more in line with late winter weather.

The low temperatures plus a combination of rain and snow have made conditions ideal for slick roads and black ice on Friday morning so morning commutes might be slower, the weather service said.

The low temps and icy conditions might also affect Metra trains and CTA trains or buses so be sure to check each agency’s website for delays or service announcements. Earlier this week, Metra faced delays related to slippery fall foliage.

On Wednesday, Chicago had 1.2 inches of snow by 4 p.m. which broke a 100-year-old record snowfall for the day. The last highest snowfall on that day was in 1923, but only .7 inches of snow fell back then.

It was also the earliest first snowfall, over an inch, that Chicago has experienced since October 20, 1989. Snow and low temps around this time of year are “not out of the question,” Petr said.