Feb 02, 2011
A historic February blizzard struck the cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha all receiving over a foot of snow during the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011. Power outages, stranded motorists and accidents were common throughout the duration of the blizzard.
Groundhog Day Blizzard - Milwaukee, Wisconsin Metro
The Governor of Wisconsin declared a State of Emergency for nearly 30 counties and the National Guard was deployed to help stranded motorists. The Groundhog Day Blizzard became severe during nightfall stranding hundreds of citizens in their vehicles. The National Weather Service Milwaukee|Sullivan issued a Civil Danger Warning urging residents to stay inside due to paralyzing conditions on the roads. Interstate 94 was closed from Milwaukee to Kenosha during the early morning for impassable conditions.
The highest snowfall accumulations occurred in the far southeast with Racine and Kenosha Counties receiving over 20 inches of snow! The snow had begun around 3:30 P.M. across the Wisconsin | Illinois border and had reached all of southern Wisconsin by 6:00 P.M. During the evening and overnight hours heavy snow was evident on the radar in the far southeast with reports of thundersnow. The storm moved northeast and bringing winds off the water that created lake effect snow to accumulate across southern Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha Counties.
O'Hare International received near 21 inches of snow which makes this storm the 3rd highest snowfall in history behind the January 2, 1999 and January 26, 1967 blizzards. The snow and strong northeast winds off of Lake Michigan was intense gusting over 60 mph. Lake Shore Drive became impassible as cars were stuck for hours and were abandoned. This was the common theme across much of Illinois.
Top 3 Winter Storms for Chicago, Illinois:
January 26, 1967 - 23.6
January 02, 1999 - 21.6
February 02, 2011 - 20.8
The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore was stationed in Chicago, Illinois providing updates throughout the night and early morning. Thundersnow was reported across most of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Below is video of the lightning and thunder associated with the Groundhog Day Blizzard.
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