The most severe snowstorm in the history of Chicago and one of the worst ever in the United States midwest brought that area to a complete standstill on Friday (Jan 27).
The most severe snowstorm in the history of Chicago and one of the worst ever in the United States midwest brought that area to a complete standstill on Friday (Jan 27). At least 20 persons were reported dead because of the weather, sixteen of them in Chicago.
The snow began Thursday. It fell all night, smothering the city in drifts. Automobiles, for examples, were simply buried. The Weather Bureau reported accumulations of 19 inches north of the city by midday Friday, 26 inches south of it and 23 inches in the city itself. Drifting snow made piles over ten feet deep.
By morning, Chicago was completely paralyzed. All schools were closed, banks and courts were closed, nearly all stores were closed and public transportation was not running. Nearly all scheduled functions were cancelled. Most of the streets were closed; highways leading to the city were impassable. Two thousand stranded cars were reported on one highway. A work force of 2500 men struggled to clear the snow away. City authorities urged everyone to stay home. Food stores were out of many staples because trucks could not make deliveries. At least one woman gave birth at home because rescue forces could not reach her. Thousands of children were caught in classrooms when the storm struck Thursday and could not get home. Many of them are still at school.
Elsewhere, in Michigan and Wisconsin, the National Guard was called out to search for stranded motorists. Schools and other public facilities were closed in both states.
The Weather Bureau said the storm was heading for northern Maine and a cold wave was moving in behind it. Temperatures were forecast to drop to between zero and five above on Friday (Fahrenheit).