Fragile Chicago Paralyzed by Second-Rate Blizzard

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Feb. 2 2011 5:48 PM

Fragile Chicago Paralyzed by Second-Rate Blizzard

Helpless motorists

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on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive yesterday as the city was walloped by a near-record 20.2 inches of snow. Hang on: 20.2 inches? That's it? Didn't Silver Spring, MD, get more than that just last year?



The Chicago Tribune, in its excitement over what passes for historic snowfall in Chicago, posted a

the city has ever seen:


1. 23.0 inches on Jan. 26-27, 1967

2. 21.6 inches on Jan .1-3, 1999

3. 20.2 inches on Feb. 1-2, 2011

4. 19.2 inches on March 25-26, 1930

5. 18.8 inches on Jan. 13-14, 1979

Aww! Twenty-three whole inches. Here, for comparison, are the

for my native Baltimore—a city whose citizens are always mocking themselves for how easily they panic over winter storms, as un-hardy residents of the mid-Atlantic:


1. 26.8 inches (Feb. 16-18 2003)

2. 26.6 inches (Jan. 7-9, 1996)

3. 26.5 inches (Jan. 27-29, 1922)

4. 25.0 inches (Feb. 5-6, 2010)

5. 22.8 inches (Feb. 11, 1983)

That's right: Baltimore has beaten Chicago's worst snowstorm three times in the past 15 years alone. If it had happened in Baltimore, the Second City's current whopping snowfall would have just squeaked past the Washington's Birthday storm of 1979 for eighth place.



Basically, when you hear someone from Chicago say "record-breaking snowfall," that's what we on the East Coast call "last winter."

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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