February 10, 2013

Recovered history: If you think that blizzard was bad

Absent from most of the recent blizzard coverage was mention of the great blizzard of 1888. 

Park Place in Brooklyn on March 14, 1888

Wikipedia - 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 as much as 50 inches of snow in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts, while parts of New Jersey and New York had up to 40 inches. Most of northern Vermont received from 20 inches to 30 inches in this storm.

Drifts were reported to average 30–40 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) 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. The storm also produced severe winds; 80 miles per hour wind gusts were reported, although the highest official report in New York City was 40 miles per hour.

Following the storm, New York began placing its telegraph and telephone infrastructure underground to prevent their destruction. From Chesapeake Bay through the New England area, more than 200 ships were either grounded or wrecked, resulting in the deaths of at least 100 seamen.

In New York, neither rail nor road transport was possible anywhere for days,and drifts across the New York–New Haven rail line at Westport, Connecticut took eight days to clear; transportation gridlock as a result of the storm was partially responsible for the creation of the first underground subway system in the United States, which opened nine years later in Boston. The New York Stock Exchange was closed for two days.

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