Year of Misfortune: Top 12 Billion-Dollar U.S. Disasters

By Tom Randall - 2011-12-21T20:11:59Z

Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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#10 Chicago's Groundhog Day Blizzard

A blizzard buried Chicago in two feet of snow on Feb. 2 -- Groundhog Day. It was the third-largest snowfall ever in a city known for harsh winter weather.

The storm affected 30 states from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean and grounded a fifth of all scheduled flights in the U.S. Winter storm warnings stretched from Maine to New Mexico, with nine states warning of blizzards. The storm killed 36 people and caused more than $1.8 billion in damage.

On Groundhog Day, folklore holds that the affable rodent emerges from his burrow to check the weather. If he doesn't see his shadow, spring is expected early. At O'Hare airport (pictured), commercial flights were canceled and any groundhogs couldn't have dug out to look for their shadows if they had wanted to.

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