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This image shows the amount of snow accumulated in Asheville, NC from the Storm of the Century.
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National Weather Service Forecast Office of Greenville-Spartanburg, NC

History of Large Blizzards of North America

During the winter months, blizzards are common in the northern parts of North America. Some of the largest blizzard events that have hit this area of the United States and Canada are described below.

On March 11-14, 1888 a blizzard struck parts of the Mid-Atlantic States and New England. Winds at 60 mph (96.5 kph) were reported from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Up to 50 inches (1.3 meters) of snow fell, which formed drifts up to 40 feet (12 meters) high.

Southern Alberta, Canada accumulated 5.8 feet (1.75 meters) of snow from storms on April 17-20 and 27-29, 1967.

Winds were blowing at 90 mph (145 kph) in Iowa during the January 10-11, 1975 blizzard. North Dakota and South Dakota were stung with wind chills of -80ºF (-62ºC).

On January 26-27, 1978 a blizzard struck the Midwest and Northeast United States dropping as much as 30 inches (0.76 meters) of snow in the Midwest and 38 inches (0.96 meters) in Boston. Fast winds of about 55 mph (88.5 kph) and temperatures as cold as -40 to -50ºF (-40 to -46ºC) accompanied the snow.

The residents of the town of Iqaluit on Canada’s Baffin Island were isolated for 10 days because of a blizzard that started on February 8, 1979. Temperatures were around -40ºF (-40ºC) while the winds blew at 62 mph (100kph).

The blizzard of March 12-15, 1993 has been called the “Storm of the Century”. This storm spread from Florida to Canada. The largest amount of snow from this storm, 56 inches (1.4 meters), fell in Tennessee.

A storm from January 6-8, 1996 produced bands of snowfall that caused more than 24 inches (0.6 meters) of snow to fall from West Virginia to New York City and in southern New England.

On January 20-24, 2005, a storm brought 5-13 inches of snow and 60 mph (96.5 kph) winds to the Midwest and 8-37 inches (0.2-0.94 meters) of snow and 85 mph (137) winds to southern New England. Snow fell quickly in Boston, at rates of 3-5 inches (0.08-0.13 meters) per hour.

Last modified July 15, 2008 by Vanessa Pearce.

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