Discover the Snowiest Place in Illinois

Written by Megan Martin
Updated: August 27, 2023
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The Land of Lincoln, Illinois, is one of the most well-known states in the United States. It’s home to many notable cities, such as Chicago, its largest city. However, do you know the most notable city regarding weather? While Illinois is no stranger to snow, one place is more familiar with frigid weather than any other city in the state.

Keep reading below to discover the snowiest place in Illinois!

Average Climate in Illinois

Illinois is a rather large state that spans different ecosystems and climates. Most of Illinois is known for having what is called a humid continental climate. This type of climate is found mostly in the northernmost regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. Noticeable seasonal changes, with hot summers and freezing winters, characterize it. 

From Carbondale to the southernmost tip of the state, you’ll find what is known as a humid subtropical climate. In the United States, this type of climate is rare outside of the southeastern states. In areas with a humid subtropical climate, you’ll notice there are mild winters with hot summers. 

Illinois is home to both frequent thunderstorms as well as tornados. The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 affected Illinois, with 613 of 695 deaths to occur happening in Illinois. As for snowfall, Illinois receives around 14 to 38 inches per year, depending on where you are in the state. 

What Town Receives the Most Snow in Illinois?

Above, you learned that, on average, Illinois can receive as much as 38 inches of snowfall in a year. However, do you know exactly where the snowiest place in Illinois is? If you’re wondering where exactly to look, you’ll find the answer in Russell, Illinois. 

Russell can receive as much as 41 inches of snow per year. 

About Russell, Illinois

Although Russell is the snowiest place in Illinois, not a lot of people know about this small town. This unincorporated community is located in Lake County, along the northeasternmost border of Illinois. As of 2020, Russell had a population of around 392. 

It is important not to confuse the unincorporated town of Russell in Lake County with the Russell Township in Lawrence County, both of which are in Illinois. 

street during winter
Russell can receive as much as 41 inches of snow per year.



True to its name, Russell, Illinois, is located on Russell Road. However, both the community and the road can trace their name back to another source altogether: Russell Sage.

Russell Sage was a railroad executive in the 19th century as well as at the very beginning of the 20th century. A businessman and former politician as well, Sage had many dealings with the westward expansion of the railroads, especially the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroads. 

There are many other areas throughout the country named for Russell. Much of this can be attributed to the philanthropic missions of his second wife, who received his fortune after his passing. 


Because Lake County is located on the northeasternmost border of Illinois, only a few miles away from Wisconsin, it is known for its humid continental climate. Along with being the snowiest place in Illinois, it also receives its fair share of other weather events.

It also experiences fewer severe weather events than the southern part of the state, which is much more vulnerable to tornados.


Illinois features several biodiverse ecosystems, each one unique. One of the most well-recognized is its urban environment. As the home to Chicago and other large cities, there’s no shortage of urban areas in this state. Here, you can find many common city animals, such as pigeons, opossums, and raccoons

When you go further into the rural areas, however, like in Russell and Lake County, you’ll find many more amazing animals to be seen. Foxes, bobcats, and coyotes are popular large mammals. You’ll also find common, smaller backyard visitors, such as the striped skunk and the eastern cottontail rabbit. There are even weasels and the American mink to be seen here!

Closer to water, such as in Russell, which isn’t too far away from the Great Lakes, you’ll find animals such as muskrats, beavers, and even river otters. Then, finally, on rare occasions, you can spot cougars, bears, and wolves. 

This is just a small look at the wildlife that can be seen in the snowiest place in Illinois. Further south in the state, there are other unique animals that thrive in different climates. However, even with the differences, Russell’s humid continental climate allows for it to be rich in nature. This, paired with its small-town atmosphere and rural landscape, can make it a great place to visit for wildlife.  

Bobcats have tails, but they aren’t very long.


The Featured Image

fog and snow
Ranked by the lowest annual average temperature, Angola is the coldest place in Indiana.

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About the Author

I'm a writer with almost five years of experience. I graduated from Wingate University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a double minor in biology and professional and technical writing. I love everything animals and nature related! The American kestrel is my favorite animal, but I also like sharks and alligators. In my free time, I like to watch documentaries and explore nature.

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