It’s snowing. It’s supposed to be a big deal and five miles from here, it is. Almost two feet of snow have hit just north and west of here. Literally, just five miles away. We got nothing much.

This storm was also known as the “Great White Hurricane.” It buried New York under as much as 8 feet of snow, but it buried the east coast from Virginia into Canada.

It has snowed every night for the past week but only a few inches at a time. We often get more snow (or rain) later in the day, but every morning when I get up, the ground and the deck is white. Since I’m still hurting from my last fall, I’m forbidden to go out there unless it is dry which it hasn’t been in weeks.

We just passed the 135th anniversary of the worst blizzard to ever hit the east coast of the United States. February and March are our snowiest months although usualy January is our coldest month. This month has not been terribly cold which is just as well since we’ve had 13 inches of rain which would translate into about 130 inches of snow — more than 10 feet — in one month.

On March 11, 1888 the storm hit the east coast. It’s officially known as the Brooklyn Blizzard of 1888 (also as “the great white blizzard”). Up and down the east coast, the Great White Hurricane buried cities from Virgina into Canada and included parts of Ohio, too,

It was the worst blizzard to ever hit the city of New York and broke records from Virginia to Maine. It remains one of the worst — and most famous — storms in U.S. history.

Accumulations of 40 to 50 inches (1.5 meters, approximately) were recorded. It’s hard to picture how much snow that is unless you’ve been through a few really big snowstorms. The deepest snow from a single storm in my life 36 inches, about 1 meter. The incredible storm that hit Buffalo earlier this year was about the depth of the 1888 storm.

Despite all the improvements in technology and infrastructure, huge amounts of snow OR rain can paralyze us today. We have no control of weather, a reminder of why the whole climate change issue is serious. A storm that heavy is more snow than any infrastructure can handle. Did I mention snow is heavy? 50 inches on a roof can cause it to cave in, especially if it’s a wet snow.

This wasn’t just a snowstorm. It was a superstorm and included sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds. It blanketed areas of  New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It carried with it sustained winds of more than 45-miles per hour, produced drifts in excess of 50 feet high — more than 15 meters. My house, at its peak, is about 40 feet, so so we are talking about drifts as high as a three-story building. All forms of transportation stopped. Roads and railroads were unusable. People were trapped in their houses for up to a week.

The Great White Hurricane paralyzed the Atlantic coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine. The storm extended all the way up into the Atlantic provinces of Canada. The telegraph went down, leaving major cities including Montreal, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston without communication for days to weeks. Because of the storm, New York began putting its telegraph and telephone wiring underground to protect it from future disasters. The seas and coastlines were not spared. In total, from the Virginia coast to New England, more than 200 ships were grounded or wrecked and more than 100 seamen died.

130 years later, no major winter storm has topped the big one of 1888.

Categories: Anecdote

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6 replies

  1. This year … in some places … it’s just been one ‘Weather Event’ after another.
    Thankfully, not here.


  2. Stay safe my friend


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