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Chicagoist Classics: The Blizzard of '67

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 27, 2014 4:00PM

As Chicago settles into its latest round of cold weather we look back 47 years to one of the most dangerous blizzards to hit the area.

We originally ran this post Feb. 2, 2011 as residents across the area were digging out of 20.3 inches of snow, the third-highest total in Chicago's history after the Blizzard of 1999 and the winner and still champion, the Blizzard of 1967. To this day the Blizzards of '67 and '79 remain the benchmarks for which all other blizzards that hit town are measured: the latter because of the monumental inept failure of Mayor Michael Bilandic to marshal snow removal resources; the former for its sheer force.

Today's official snowfall of 20.3 inches places thie Blizzard of 2011 third on the all-time list for Chicago, behind the Blizzard of 1999 and the still champion, the Blizzard of 1967. As we mentioned earlier, any blizzard that rolls through the Chicago area will be compared to the Blizzards of '67 and '79. If you're a native Chicagoan whose parents lived through the Blizzard of 1967, chances are they've already called you to remind you that "their blizzard" was much worse.

The Blizzard of '67 is noteworthy for just how wrong weathermen forecast the snowfall. Many of them predicted a snowfall of three inches. that's because the temperature was 65 degrees on January 24, 1967. From 5:02 a.m. on January 26 through 10:10 a.m. the next day, a record 23 inches of snow fell. hundreds of CTA buses were stranded. 50,000 automobiles were trapped on Lake Shore Drive and the expressways.

We found these photos a couple days back, when the buzz was starting to build about this storm. John Martine was four years old in 1967 when these photos were taken in Bucktown. He granted us permission to run the photos to give you an idea of what our parents were talking about.