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Chicago’s weather record for late snow is in May, will it be broken?

Chilly spring seasons are common, but this much late snow is rare

Friday was 65 degrees and sunny, and Saturday dropped to 32 degrees and snowy. While it is spring, that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear yet.

A winter storm watch, which lasted until late Saturday, was issued by the National Weather Service in Chicago. On Saturday the snowstorm shifted and rain turned into heavy, wet snow by midday for some areas. Parts of the city were expected to see 4 to 8 inches of snow, but the most that fell was 6 inches in west suburban St. Charles. Yikes.

The official snowfall for Chicago, measured at O’Hare Airport, was 2.5 inches—the last time we had measurable snow this late was 30 years ago.

Chilly spring seasons aren’t uncommon, but it’s rare to have this much snow so late. April is a miserable time to get snow, and there’s always a small chance May could bring a flurry. So, unfortunately, this might not be the last time you need winter boots this season.

Chicago weather records go as far back as 1886. The latest last snowfall ever was May 22, 1917 where there was a trace amount of snow. The latest last snow with an inch or more of accumulation was May 3, 1907.

However, the last time we had more than 3 inches in late spring was April 23, 1967.

The temperatures this weekend will get near freezing but not quite. The weather service doesn’t directly measure frost, but will track temperatures that drop below 32 degrees. For Chicago, the earliest spring frost was March 19, 1925 and the latest was May 25, 1992.

These aren’t ideal records to break, so let’s hope the rest of spring stays snow free.