Blizzard of 2013 vs. 1978 and 1888

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By Greg Horan on February 11, 2013, 5:25pm Last modified: February 13, 2013, 12:16pm

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So, we have had some amazing snowfall totals from the Blizzard of 2013 on Friday into Saturday. But just how does this compare to past notable blizzards? Many people consider the Blizzard of 1888, also know as the "Great White Hurricane," to be the standard for how all other storms were measured! It was considered the worst blizzard in the state. The next storm that was considered to be most remembered was the Blizzard of 1978!  Below I will summarize the Blizzards and provide a comparison.

1888 Blizzard - (March)

Highest snowfall totals: 45” in New Haven and 50” Middletown.

Drifts: Reported up to 20 - 40 feet.

Temperatures: Dropped from the 40's to the single digits.

1978 Blizzard - (February)

Highest Snowfall Totals:  24” New Haven,  36” Eastern CT.

Drifts: Reported up to 18 feet.

Temperatures- Teens/20's.

2013 Blizzard - (February)

Higher Snowfall Totals: 34” New Haven, 36” Oxford, 38" Milford

Drifts: Reported 8+ feet.

Temperatures- Dropped from the 30's to teens.


In looking at these three storms, it appears that Blizzard of 2013 will fall into number 2 status. Average accumulations exceeded 2 feet and many approached 3 feet in central CT.  The Blizzard of 1978 will come in as number 3 status with average accumulations just a few inches less.  The Blizzard of 1888 will remain number 1 with the most snowfall accumulations. 

If you look at just New Haven though, 2013 had 10" less than 1888, but 10” more than 1978!  So overall this Blizzard of 2013 was quite impressive!

As far as impacts, both 1978 and 2013 were quite similar as far as many motorists being stranded on the road and in their houses for a few days.  Of course in 1888, there were no cars, and people were out throughout the storm. Temperatures were colder and many more deaths resulted and drifts were much higher, due to very strong winds!

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Greg Horan

Town: Hamden, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since February 2012.

Articles: 336

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