April Fool's Blizzard of 1997

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By Quincy Vagell on April 1, 2013, 11:00am Last modified: April 3, 2014, 6:04pm

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An early spring snow storm impacted the Northeast from March 31st into April 1st of 1997 and that's no April Fool's joke. Weather map from 10 p.m., March 31st, 1997.

I remember that storm well. I lived in the quiet corner of northeastern Connecticut at the time. I was staying with family in Windham, which is a valley location. A heavy, wind-dirven rain during the afternoon quickly changed to heavy, wet snow. I remember that Dairy Queen had just opened days before and the sign outside read "Happy nor'Easter" as Easter was right around the corner. My grandfather and I went out to eat dinner that night and the power was flickering in the restaurant, due to the heavy, wet snow and strong winds. Final snowfall amounts in my area were right around 12".

Early spring winter storms often dump the heaviest snow inland and across the higher elevations and this was true with this storm as well. While many of the northern hills of Connecticut saw well over 12" of snow, the lower elevations and shoreline saw lighter amounts.

Going back to the Windham area, I was actually right near Windham Airport (KIJD) during that storm and here are some of the observations from the Airport:

3:52 p.m. March 31st:
Heavy rain and mist. Wind NE 32 MPH, gusting to 45 MPH. Temp 34°F.

4:32 p.m. March 31st: 
Rain and mist. Wind NE 33 MPH, gusting to 49 MPH. Temp 34°F.

5:52 p.m. March 31st: 
Light snow and mist. Wind NE 31 MPH, gusting to 38 MPH. Temp 33°F.

8:52 p.m. March 31st: 
Snow and freezing fog. Wind NNE 25 MPH, gusting to 37 MPH. Temp 31°F.

Select snowfall totals, courtesy of the National Weather Service:
...Northern Connecticut... (Hartford/Tolland/Windham counties)
W. Suffield final 17.0
Union 1100 AM 18.3
Vernon 1100 AM 13.5
Farmington 1100 AM 15.5
Wethersfield 1100 AM 12.3
Mansfield 1100 AM 12.5
Putnam 1100 AM 21.0
Avon 1100 AM 14.0
East Granby 1100 AM 11.0
Bristol 935 AM 13.0
Mansfield 930 AM 16.0
Storrs 930 AM 12.0
Chaplin 930 AM 10.0
Scotland 930 AM 7.0
Windham 930 AM 12.0

Additional information:

April Fool's Day Blizzard

Video: April 1st 1997: Blizzard


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Quincy Vagell

Town: Marlborough, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

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