The Great Blizzard of 1888

On this day in 1888 one of the most severe blizzards ever to hit the United States was paralyzing the entire east coast from Chesapeake Bay to Maine. Often referred to as "The Great White Hurricane" it buried major cities and killed over 400 people.
Daily Weather Map at 10PM March 12, 1888 (NOAA)
Snow measured in feet
Some of the greatest snowfall totals from the Blizzard of 1888 were recorded across western New England and eastern New York with
  • 58 inches at Saratoga Springs, NY
  • 48 inches in Albany, NY
  • 45 inches in New Haven, CT
  • 22 inches in NYC
  • Strong winds - 40 mph in NYC with a 54 mph gust at Block Island.
  • Severe drifting - 52 foot drift measured at Gravesend, NY
  • Central Park Observatory in NYC reported a daily average of only 9F with a low of 6F, coldest ever to that date in March

  • Rail service through the Northeast was out for days - it took 8 days to clear the New New Haven rail line at Westport, CT
  • New York Stock exchange closed for two days
  • Telegraph service was out for days and led to the underground placement of wires - early resilience efforts!
  • 200 vessels aground from the Chesapeake to New England with over 100 seamen lost
  • Over 400 hundred people perished - 200 in New York City

At Blue Hill Observatory, that was on the cool, moist side of a stationary front that extended from the storm center northward through central New England, much of the 2.87 inches of melted precipitation fell as sleet with only 9 inches of snow recorded.
Deep snows blocked rail trans-
portation for many days - the snow needed to be moved by hand
New York city after the storm - note the mass of overhead wires

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Thanks to all who gave in 2018!

Charles Orloff, Executive Director

Don McCasland, Program Director