The Chicago Blizzard Of 1967, 50 Years Ago

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Over the decades, we have seen many brutal winter storms, but none matches the Blizzard of 1967, which all began 50 years ago this week.

A total of 23 inches of snow came down between 5 a.m. Jan. 26 until 10 a.m. on Jan 27. It still ranks as the worst snowstorm ever in Chicago.

About 800 CTA buses and 50,000 cars were abandoned on city streets and expressways.

This was taken during the 1967 snow at the corner of Erie and Fairbanks when I was Staff Photographer at CBS2. (Credit: Thanks Donald Smetzer) Send Us Your Photos At 780photos@gmail.com

This was taken during the 1967 snow at the corner of Erie and Fairbanks when I was Staff Photographer at CBS2. (Credit: Thanks Donald Smetzer) Send Us Your Photos At 780photos@gmail.com

A total of 26 Chicagoans lost their lives, including a man run over by a snow plow and a girl caught in crossfire between police and looters.

Fortunately, snow removal is a lot of different now than it was then.

This was taken during the 1967 snow at the corner of Erie and Fairbanks when I was Staff Photographer at CBS2. (Credit: Thanks Donald Smetzer)

This was taken during the 1967 snow at the corner of Erie and Fairbanks when I was Staff Photographer at CBS2. (Credit: Thanks Donald Smetzer)

The main difference is technology, of course

But back then, the city didn’t have more than a 1,000 remote cameras helping officials more effectively direct snow trucks. Also, snow trucks did not have GPS systems, cell phones and automatic transmissions.

This Jan. 30, 1967 photo shows abandoned autos littering South Lake Shore Drive near the 18th Street footbridge, hampering cleanup. (Credit: Ralph Arvidson/Chicago Sun-Times)

This Jan. 30, 1967 photo shows abandoned autos littering South Lake Shore Drive near the 18th Street footbridge, hampering cleanup. (Credit: Ralph Arvidson/Chicago Sun-Times)

Most of the trains now have enclosed ventilation systems. In 1967, motors became packed with snow and shorted out.

The forecast for today calls for the possibility of a trace of snow, and Chicago hasn’t had much of any measurable snowfall since mid December, according to CBS 2 meteorologist Megan Glaros.

That’s a good sign as most of the worst snowfalls in recorded history happened in January and early February. In fact, two of the worst–in 2011 and 2015–happened around Groundhog’s Day.

Cars are buried in snow on Lake Shore Drive after the Blizzard of 2011. (Credit: "Rock"/User Photo)

Cars are buried in snow on Lake Shore Drive after the Blizzard of 2011. (Credit: “Rock”/User Photo)

Save

More From CBS Chicago

News Via Email
Podcast Network

Watch & Listen LIVE