You cannot measure the destructive force of a snowstorm in inches of powder. Though piles of snow are sure to get attention regardless of where they fall, oftentimes it’s the storms that settle over urban areas, or that mesh with other weather patterns that bring about those apocalyptic visions of swirling white. Below are the five times in history that winter showed us just how serious it can be.
The Blizzard of ‘88: Many may remember the blizzard that froze the east coast. Though we’ve weathered worse, those that bore witness will remember how sudden and strange the storm seemed to be. Like a sucker-punch after the snowy seasons, March brought heavy rains that turned into ice and snow. From New England to the Chesapeake Bay, the northeastern United States became an ice block. Over 400 people died as a result of power outages, accidents, and nearly 100 were lost at sea when the storm turned the local waters dangerous.
The New York Storm of 2004: An example of what happens when a city is the center of a storm, the storm could hardly be categorized as a blizzard at all. The winds were weak, the visibility was normal, but the snow fell heavy. Recording the highest amount of snow ever received in the Big Apple, 26.9 inches fell on Central Park Zoo, and the snowmelt flooding closed roads for days after the initial fall.
Mount Shasta Storm: Here is a prime example of a massive snowfall with little effect on the locals. Mount Shasta, California, is known to have regular snowfalls during the winter months. However, 1959 brought what some consider to be the largest snowfall in recorded history for the area. Over 189 inches fell over the small town, blanketing it entirely. Luckily the locals were well versed in the ways of winter preparedness, and no major injuries or damages were sustained.
The Buffalo Blizzard: As if every element combined to make a dreadful snow experience for Buffalo, the winter of 1977 brought bitter and biting winds to the streets of Chicago. With wind gusts reaching 75 mph blowing across snow drifts piled and frozen from the weeks before, the chill reached right to the bone. In scant hours, the temperature dropped 20 degrees and lead to nearly 29 deaths after dropping almost 200 inches.
The Midwest Monster: Hitting a vastly underprepared portion of the United States, the 1967 blizzard swept across the midwest. Dumping over two feet of snow with winds maintaining a speed of over 50 mph, this storm claimed 76 lives along its warpath. Compounding the damage done to the area, a tornado had struck merely days before the snow fell. Homes lucky enough to survive the cyclone with minor damages found the cold creeping in, and none were prepared.