18.7 inch blizzard snowfall was half an inch from record breaking


Jerry Burnes | Northern Star A snow plower removes snow from the sidewalks below the Village Commons Bookstore on Lucinda Avenue. The blizzard that hit DeKalb Tuesday into Wednesday dropped 18.7 inches of snow on the ground.

Amy Kreeger

DeKalb is in the middle of a bona-fide blizzard.

“This is not a snow storm, this is a true blizzard,” said NIU meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste. “It will go down as the worst ever in modern history.”

The accumulated snowfall from Tuesday and Wednesday’s blizzard totaled 18.7 inches. It almost broke all time record for snowfall at any one time, Sebenste said.

“This blizzard was shy of a half of an inch from breaking the record,” Sebenste said.

There are only two other blizzards that have been in the same ranking in northern Illinois, Sebenste said.

DeKalb records of snow storms and blizzards date back to 1889, Sebenste said. The first blizzard recorded was a two-day snowfall between Jan. 26 and 27 in 1967 with 19.1 inches of snow, causing local grade schools and high schools to be canceled for weeks.

The second blizzard occurred within a two-day period from Jan. 13 and 14 in 1979 with a total snowfall of 17.3 inches, Sebenste said.

“This is the worst I have seen it in my entire 16 years working for the DeKalb Police Department,” said Sgt. Jim Haacker. “We would prefer people to not go out if you don’t have to.”

The city is currently under a state of emergency. According to a press release issued by the City of DeKalb, the emergency was declared Tuesday afternoon. The state of emergency was cancelled mid-day Wednesday.

“All roads are closed, and even after plowing most roads are impassible,” Sebenste said.

Wednesday night winds will fall, but temperatures could still get as low as 20 below zero, Sebenste said.