Midwesterners got a heavy dose of snowfall earlier this week. From multiple pileups that closed roads in Ohio, to hundreds of flight cancellations at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Veterans Day 2019 will go down as the snowiest in history for several cities. Major metropolitan areas like Chicago and Detroit, as well as many smaller cities, got a month’s worth of the white stuff in just one day, shattering records for the date of Nov. 11.
Some people may have thought it was no big deal. After all, the Midwest is known for snowstorms. Areas downwind of the Great Lakes are famous for seemingly limitless streaks of lake-effect snow. The region has seen its share of nasty Veterans Day/Armistice Day storms — like the deadly blizzard of 1940, which dumped 27 inches of snow in Collegeville, Minnesota, or the 1996 storm Nov. 9-14, which knocked out power to more than 150,000 customers in Cleveland and produced snow totals of 70 inches. But, believe it or not, it’s a bit early in the season for neighborhoods to get buried.
Some cities saw their biggest Veterans Day snowfalls in more than 20 years; for others in more than 50 years. Also, the average daily snowfall for Nov. 11 in these areas is less than one third of an inch, compared to the five-plus inches they received. Heavy snowfall continued in some spots the next day, with disastrous results (see Tweet below). Most Midwest-Great Lakes denizens and visitors should catch a break tonight as lake-effect snowfall fades. However, it could come back to some areas tomorrow and Friday, Nov. 14 and 15.
On top of the record snowfall, temperatures turned unseasonably cold for mid-November. All of the cities listed in the graphic above, except Lansing, set or tied record low temperatures in the single digits yesterday, Nov. 12. The coldest was 3 degrees Fahrenheit (3F) in Rockford, beating the old record of 7 degrees Fahrenheit from Nov. 12, 1986. Records of 16 degrees Fahrenheit were set in Buffalo and Rochester. These records were around 20 to 30 degrees below normal, making the region feel like an icebox. Highs yesterday were 25 to 35 degrees below normal, topping out in the teens and 20s. Unfortunately, temperatures are forecast to warm up only about 10 degrees over the next few days.