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Chicago Weather Center

Ask Tom why: Is Chicago more likely to get a measurable snowfall on Christmas or Valentine's Day?

February 10, 2012

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Dear Tom,

Historically, is Chicago more likely to get a measurable snowfall on Christmas or Valentine's Day?

—Dan Evans, Palos Hills

Dear Dan,

A check of the record books by Chicago climatologist Frank Wachowski showed that it has snowed in Chicago more often on Christmas Day than on Valentine's Day. Analyzing snowfall records since the winter of 1884-85, Wachowski found that there has been measurable snowfall on 44 of 128 Christmases (about 34 percent of the time) compared to just 24 percent of the Valentine's Days (31 instances of measurable snowfall in 127 years). However, of the two days, Valentine's Day has had the bigger snowstorm, most notably a paralyzing 8.3-inch snowfall in 1990, compared to the city's biggest Christmas Day snowfall of just 5.1 inches in 1950.