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ISWS Report of Investigation RI-88PDF


Title:Record Winter Storms in Illinois, 1977-1978
Author(s):Changnon, Stanley A., Jr.; Changnon, David
heavy snow
ice storms
lake effect
severe storms
storm damages
synoptic analysis
wind with snow and glaze
Abstract:The Midwest, including Illinois, experienced in 1977-1978 its most severe winter since weather records began in the early Nineteenth Century. Illinois had a record-breaking number of 18 severe winter storms; 4 such storms is normal. The record winter began with 3 snowstorms in late November and ended with an extremely damaging ice storm in late March. Unusual snow patterns occurred with several storms and they lasted much longer than usual. Weather conditions (low pressure centers) producing many of the storms were more often of Canadian origin than usual, and these lows had lower pressure and moved slower than normal, resulting in higher surface winds and longer lasting and hence more severe storms. Cold temperatures along with frequent snows resulted in record long lasting snow cover with up to 120 days with ≥1 inch cover in northern Illinois and 90 days in southern Illinois. The storms led to 62 deaths and more than 2000 injuries. Utilities, communication systems, and transportation suffered great losses, though railroads benefited with increased use and helicopters and snowmobiles proved valuable in rescue service. Local, state, and federal institutions were beset with enormous and costly problems including care of roads and lost taxable income due to absenteeism.
Issue Date:1978
Publisher:Illinois State Water Survey
Series/Report:Report of Investigation (Illinois State Water Survey) RI-088
Genre:Technical Report
Publication Status:published
Peer Reviewed:peer reviewed
Rights Information:Copyright, University of Illinois Board of Trustees. All rights reserved. This document is a product of the Illinois State Water Survey, and has been selected and made available by the Illinois State Water Survey and the University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is intended for research and educational use, and proper attribution is requested.
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-28

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