Published: March 14,2017
Winter Storm Stella has finally ended Chicago's record-long streak without at least one inch of snow on the ground that extended back to Christmas Day.
(MORE: Winter Storm Stella Forecast)
Stella brought light snowfall to the Windy City late Sunday night through Monday. Then lake-effect snow developed thanks to northeast winds across Lake Michigan after Stella moved east, causing major travel problems throughout the metro area Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Chicago O'Hare International Airport had officially picked up 7.5 inches as of 4 p.m. CDT Tuesday from Stella and the lake-effect snow. A snow depth of 6 inches was measured at 7 a.m. CDT Tuesday morning.
This March snow event is on par with the heaviest of the season in Chicago, which was 7.8 inches Dec. 10-11.
According to the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Illinois, Christmas morning was the last day O'Hare reported at least an inch of snow on the ground prior to Stella.
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Never before in records dating to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 has an official Chicago reporting station failed to measure at least one January or February day with at least an inch of snow cover in the same winter.
The Windy City also set a record-long winter streak without a one-inch snowfall. The last such occurrence prior to Stella was the weekend before Christmas on Dec. 17.
The winter started impressively snowy in Chicago, with 17.7 inches of snow falling in two weeks from Dec. 4-18, more than double the average for the entire month (8 inches).
(MORE: Winter Storm Central)
Then, the snow essentially shut off.
From Dec. 18 to March 11, O'Hare measured a pathetic 0.7 inches of total snowfall. Average Chicago snowfall from Dec. 19 through the beginning of March is more than 2 feet.
Jonathan Erdman is a senior meteorologist at weather.com and has been an incurable weather geek since a tornado narrowly missed his childhood home in Wisconsin at age 7.