With the northeast United States being hit with snowstorm after snowstorm this winter, many are calling the season record-setting. Although there is plenty of snow on the ground and more to come, this winter season doesn’t come close to reaching the snow totals of blizzards past. Here are fifteen of the worst snowstorms in the history of the United States:
1. The “Great Blizzard” of 1888
This storm covered a wide area, from Chesapeake Bay to New England, including many major cities. The storm started as a major rain storm before temperatures dropped, turning the rain to snow. New York City received 22 inches of snow, which caused floods when the snow melted. Saratoga Springs, N.Y. got a whopping 58 inches. Over 400 people died during the storm, including 100 that were lost at sea.
2. The “Storm of the Century” of 1993
Also in March, this storm covered more area of the United States than any previous snowstorm. Parts of 26 states were hit, with massive snowfall spanning all the way from Canada to Alabama. Birmingham dealt with over a foot of snow, and even Georgia received four inches. Mountain ranges like the Appalachians and the Catskills sat under 50 inches of snow. The low temperatures contributed to the dangerous storm; Burlington, VT recorded 12 degrees below zero, and even Daytona Beach in Florida dropped below freezing. There were 310 deaths reported and $6.6 billion in damage.
3. The “Great Blizzard” of 1899
This February storm shut down the Eastern Seaboard from Georgia to Maine. New Jersey received a record 34 inches in a single day.
4. New York City’s Blizzard of 2006
Although not technically a blizzard, this storm was localized in New York City, wreaking havoc in the metropolitan area. Central Park Zoo recorded 27 inches of snow, which is the greatest snowfall in New York City’s recorded history. It broke a record that was set in 1947.
5. “The White Hurricane” of 1913
This storm was the deadliest natural disaster to ever hit the Great Lakes region. The blizzard came with hurricane-force winds, causing waves on the lake to reach 35 feet high. Wind speed was at a constant 60 mph for over 12 hours.
6. Mount Shasta, California Snowstorm of 1959
In 1959, a storm dumped 189 inches of snow on Mount Shasta. The bulk of the snow fell on unpopulated mountainous areas, barely disrupting the residents of the Mount Shasta area. The amount of snow recorded is the largest snowfall from a single storm in North America.
7. “The Children’s Blizzard” of 1888
In the Dakota Territory and Nebraska, tragedy struck while temperatures dropped from a few degrees above freezing to a wind chill of 40 degrees below zero. Because everyone was so unprepared for the cold, school children were sent home by their teachers during the storm. 235 people, including many children, perished in the storm.
8. The “New England Blizzard” of 1978
Residents of Farragut Road in South Boston are seen in this 1978 File Photo digging thier cars out from snowdrifts following thge blizzard that struck the New England area in 1978. The super storm that buried Boston in 27 inches of snow, caused extensive damage and was responsible for at least 29 deaths.(AP Photo)
Residents of Farragut Road in South Boston are seen in this 1978 File Photo digging their cars out from snowdrifts following the blizzard that struck the New England area in 1978. The super storm that buried Boston in 27 inches of snow and caused extensive damage. (AP Photo)
The Blizzard of ’78 stayed over New England for over a day, dropping up to 4 inches per hour. Areas around Boston and Providence were hit the hardest, with snow totals between one and three feet. Wind speeds were over 100 mph, causing a lack of visibility and severe coastal flooding. The storm came without warning in the afternoon, while many people were at work at school. When the storm hit, they tried to commute home, leaving thousands of people stranded in their cars on roads throughout the area. Over 100 people died in Massachusetts and Rhode Islands.
9. The “Great Appalachian Storm”
This winter storm hit the Southeast in November. It formed over North Carolina before heading to Ohio, leaving 353 deaths in its wake.
10. The “Great Snow” of 1717
Another New England disaster, the Great Snow was a series of four storms between late February and early March. There were reports of about five feet of snow already on the ground when the first of the storms hit. By the end, there were about ten feet of snow and some drifts reaching 25 feet, burying houses entirely. In the colonial era, this storm made travel impossible until the snow simply melted.
11. The “Buffalo Blizzard” of 1977
The Buffalo Blizzard was another case of massive snowfall dropping on top of an already snow-covered city. There were several feet of packed snow already on the ground, and the blizzard brought with it enough snow to reach Buffalo’s record for the most snow in one season – 199.4 inches. The storm and intense cold caused 29 deaths in Western New York.
12. The “Knickerbocker Storm” of 1922
This January blizzard brought with it so much wet and heavy snow that it collapsed the roof at the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington, D.C. That collapse killed 98 people and injured another 133. It dropped about 3 feet of snow in the D.C. area.
13. The “Super Bowl Blizzard” of 1975
This blizzard began with a series of tornadoes in the Southeast before heading to the upper Midwest, killing over 100,000 farm animals. The first of 45 tornadoes began on Jan. 9. They persisted for two days, killing 12 people and injuring 377. As the snow swept the Midwest, heavy snow and wind killed 58 people.
14. “Snowmageddon” of 2010
These two storms broke snowfall records in the mid-Atlantic U.S. It left 32.4 inches of snow in Washington, D.C., and by the time the second storm was over, almost 70 percent of the country was covered in snow.
15. The Midwest Blizzard of 1967
While storms in the Midwest usually affect a smaller population, this storm hit Chicago and other populated cities and left 76 dead. Before the storm hit, the area was basking in temperatures in the 60s and recovering from a severe tornado outbreak. Snowfall totals were around two feet.