The Snow-Storm

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.



The Northeast just went through a terrible blizzard with record level snowfalls, 3 feet or more in some places.

I found a wonderful chart of snowfalls in Chicago, beginning in the winter of 1884-1885 through last winter of 2011-2012 from the National Weather Service, from which these statistics were taken. 

Our highest snowfall year was 1978-1979 at 89.7 inches, which many of us recall. The biggrst snow began on New Years Eve, continuing  through New Year’s Day and beyond.  And it just kept snowing all month.   The snow, when plowed, was taller than a car driving along the road: we had to put tennis balls or flags on our antennas so cars at intersections could see another vehicle approaching.  I thought the snow would never melt.

The second highest snowfall was the previous year:1977-1978 at 82.3 inches.  1969-1970 came in 3td at 77 inches, while 1966-1967 was fourth at 68.4 inches, which I remember, also.  23 inches, one of the largest snows in 1 day, came down Jan 26-27, 1967.  

Kids, of course, loved it.

Above Algonquin-Jan.1936

My mother and me

My dad and the late 20‘s Chevy.  My Grandpa had bought it for my mother when she was in high school.  

All three above photos are labeled “above Algonquin”.  Algonquin of the 30‘s nestled along both sides of the Fox River, backed by unpopulated bluffs and high hills -“above Algonquin” . 

1942 along Lovell St. in front of our house.  The winter of 1942-1943 had 45.2 inches of snowfall.

While it seems to me there was more snow when I was a child than there is now, that isn’t the case.  In 1948-1949, only 14.3 inches fell for the entire winter; in 1936-1937 only 12 inches, and the lowest of all was in 1920-1921–9.8 inches.

A 10 inch snow occurs, on average, about once every 3 years–we haven’t had a 10-inch snowstorm since Jan 2005–8 years.

So far, our accumulation has been less than average, but I haven’t been able to find out just what it is–does anyone else know?.

Snow can be hazerdous, snow can be inconvenient, but snow can also be fun, and above all, snow can be beautiful.  Here are some examples:


Winter Photographs

My patio 2/6/08

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) at Geneva River Park 1/29/11   Little Bluestem is the showiest grass for fall and winter color.

Showy Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia speciosa var. sullivantii ) on my parkway 2/13/08.  Showy in winter as well as summer.

Prairie Garden in front yard in north end of Elgin. 12/20/09.  More Showy Black-eyed Susan.

Black Haw (Viburnum prunefolium) in my back yard 2/22/10.  Black Haw’s horizontal branches hold the snow.

My side yard last week 2/7/13.


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6 Responses to SNOWFALL

  1. Christa February 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm #


    Absolutely love those old photos – how fun! And wonderful that you’ll share them with us.

    Always interesting to compare the facts – those historical numbers – with our perceptions.

    Snow (and ice and frost) on native plants…there could be nothing more beautiful!


  2. Susan February 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    I always appreciate your photos but I especially enjoyed the 30’s and 40’s photos. Thanks!

  3. Midge February 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Just beautiful and interesting photos. Thanks so much. And the poem is really special.

  4. Steve February 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Very nice, but one correction. We had a 20″ plus snowfall two years ago. The “snowicane” that whipped up 70 mph winds on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and stranded a bunch of people.

    • Pat Hill February 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      The “official” weather for Chicago is recorded at O’Hare. Sounds like your big snowfall was a lake effect and therefor was not the officially recorded snowfall.

  5. Patty February 13, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Great entry this week! I loved all photos! Your blog is a treasure!

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