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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Historic Blizzards on this date

Today part of the two day anniversary of the Superstorm of 1993:
Records for Baltimore on March 13th 1993:
Lowest Barometer Reading: 28.51"
Wind Gust: 69mph

Snow: 11.3"
Mixed Precipitation: 2.45"
That includes the 1-2 inches of sleet and freezing rain. It was incredible ice that many people remember from that storm, on top of all of the snow.
Hagerstown had 20 inches of snow with 55mph winds claiming snow drifts up to 12 feet high!
Garrett County had 31 inches of snow. Which is more impressive when you consider that they had over 40 inches in the Great Nor'Easter a few months earlier in December (10-12)

I was in upstate New York for that storm where 3-4 feet of snow fell, also a record for Syracuse with 48 inches of total snow.

This same storm brought 4-10 inches of snow to Atlanta and measurable snow to northern Florida.
Florida derecho had winds reach 96mph in Tampa Bay. A line of tornadoes killed 10 people and were followed by flurries.

March 12-14 is also the anniversary of the Great Blizzard of 1888, also known as the White Hurricane.
I spent my summer before my senior year of college at WNET a PBS station in NYC. My internship was to develop a series for an Emmy Award Winning producer about significant weather events that have impacted history. This storm was the first in my research based on it's impact on the development of the New York City underground subway system. Until then, the trains were elevated- because underground trains created too much smoke pollution to the streets above, and the vibrations scared the horses. However these above ground trains (L's for elevated) got stuck in 3-5 foot snow drifts and frozen tracks. Thousands were trapped- and hundreds died.
This storm peaked on the 12th with a barometric pressure dropping under 29.00" as seen on this hand drawn weather map.
For Baltimore- today's date brought a record low of 12F- 1888. Also a record low max temperature of only 18F in the afternoon.
Below is the report from Wikipedia:

The weather preceding the blizzard was unseasonably mild with heavy rains that turned to snow as temperatures dropped rapidly.[1] The storm began in earnest shortly after midnight on March 12, and continued unabated for a full day and a half. The National Weather Service estimated this incredible Nor'easter dumped 50 inches (1.3 m) of snow in Connecticut and Massachusetts while New Jersey and the state of New York had 40 inches (1.0 m).[3] Most of northern Vermont received from 20 inches (50.8 cm) to 30 inches (76.2 cm) in this storm.[4]

Drifts were reported to be 25-40 feet, over the tops of houses from New York to New England, with reports of drifts covering 3-story houses. The highest drift (52 feet (15.8 m)) was recorded in Gravesend, New York. Fifty eight inches of snow was reported in Saratoga Springs, New York; 48 inches in Albany, New York; 45 inches of snow in New Haven, Connecticut; and 22 inches of snow in New York City.[5] The storm also produced severe winds; 80 miles per hour (129 km/h) wind gusts were reported, although the highest official report in New York City was 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), with a 54 miles per hour (87 km/h) gust reported at Block Island.[5] New York's Central Park Observatory reported a minimum temperature of 6 °F (−14.4 °C), and a daytime average of 9 °F (−12.8 °C) on March 13, the coldest ever for March.[5]

Storm EffectsThe storm, referred to as the Great White Hurricane, paralyzed the East Coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine,[3] as well as the Atlantic provinces of Canada.[1] Telegraphinfrastructure was disabled, isolating New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. for days. From Chesapeake Bay through the New England area, over 200 ships were either grounded or wrecked, resulting in the deaths of at least 100 seamen.[5]

In New York, neither rail nor road transport was possible anywhere for days,[6] and drifts across the New York—New Haven rail line at Westport, Connecticut took eight days to clear; transportationsubway system in the United States, which opened nine years later in Boston.[7] gridlock as a result of the storm was partially responsible for the creation of the first underground

Fire stations were immobilized, and property loss from fire alone was estimated at $25 million.[6] Severe flooding occurred after the storm due to melting snow—especially in the Brooklyn area, which was more susceptible to serious flooding due to its topography.[5] Efforts were made to push the snow into the Atlantic Ocean. Over 400 people died from the storm and the ensuing cold, including 200 in New York City alone.

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