Which hurricane has had the biggest effect on Chicago?




Dear Tom,

Chicago is so far inland that hurricanes rarely have a significant effect on us.  But I seem to recall that in 2008 Hurricane Ike dropped considerable rainfall. Which hurricane has had the biggest effect on Chicago?

Melinda, Glenview

Dear Melinda,

Chicago has been affected the remnants of hurricanes on at least 17 occasions since 1900, as remnant low-pressure systems from tropical cyclones have passed within about 100 miles of the city. Some, like the remnants of Hurricane Carla in September 1961, battered Chicago with torrential rain (5+”) and strong winds (49 mph), while others produced just clouds or light showers. The city’s heaviest rains from dying tropical cyclones fell on Sept. 12-14, 2008, when the combined remnants of Atlantic Hurricane Ike and Pacific Tropical Storm Lowell delivered more than 8.5″ of flooding rains. Another tropical origin flooding episode occurred on Aug. 4-5, 1989, when the remnants of Hurricane Chantal brought nearly 4.25″ of rain and wind gusts to 32 mph to the Chicago area.

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