This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.
Between January 26 – 27, 1967, a blizzard hit Chicago. It still holds the record for the city's greatest snowfall.
A 13-year-old Florida resident asked for some of this snow and her wish was granted.
Before digging into the best news story that has come out of a snowstorm, let's go through the exceptional quantity of snow that fell on Chicago.
Chicago Blizzard on January 26, 1967. Courtesy: Jeff Geisler
It was a surprise blizzard that no one saw coming. It was late morning on a Thursday, so people were already at school and work.
The blizzard consisted of wind gusts of 85 km/h and dropped a record 58 cm of snow, bringing the city to a halt. Local transportation could not operate, stranding 1,100 buses and 20,000 cars in the snow.
Because land transportation was out of the question, helicopters delivered equipment to hospitals and stranded motorists.
There was one mode of land transportation that was in its heyday - the sled. Expectant mothers were taken to hospitals by sleds, but at least a dozen women could not make it to a hospital so their babies were born at home.
After the storm, the city began cleanup, dispatching 2,500 people to clear the streets. Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan lent a hand. It took three weeks for the Department of Streets and Sanitation to remove the snow from the roads. But there was a lot of snow and not a lot of places to put it, so some of it was dumped in the Chicago River.
Then, this is where the story within a story begins. Someone decided that it would be a good idea to ship trainloads of snow out of Chicago. As the uninsulated trains would head south, the snow would melt.
Terri Hodson, a 13-year-old girl who lived in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, heard about the snow headed southward and wanted a piece of it. Hodson had never seen snow, so she wrote to William Quinn, the president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, asking for some of the white stuff.
As a result, Quinn swapped the railroad cars for insulated ones and shipped some snow to Hodson. The town of Fort Myers Beach created a ceremony for the event. A local hardware store even gifted Hodson a sled that had been shipped to them by accident.
Hudson still has that sled.