I remember the wind and rain causing the power to go out at school. The power was out much of the day. As a 3'rd grade student, we stuck a rain gage outside the classroom, and measured nearly 4" of rain before we had 1/2" of snow. This was the latest in the season I have ever seen snow.
During the morning, I could barely see out the window because the snow was so heavy. By late afternoon, we had nearly 2 feet of snow and a 4-5 foot drift in our side yard. The snow was so deep in the road that it was up to our knees, and very difficult to walk in.
This was the most imressive snowstorm I have ever witnessed! The storm is still legendary in New England!
2/6/78: I was in school and I remember the snow began to fall during the late morning. By afternoon, the wind was blowing an inch or two of snow around, and the snow was gradually getting heavier. When school let out at 3pm, the wind and snow had picked up so much that papers were being ripped out of children's hands and they were screaming because of the chaos. After we were all home, some people tried to enjoy the snow, but it was too windy to enjoy it.
2/7/78: The wind shook the house all night, and when I woke up in the morning, the snow had diminished a little. The temperatures had risen to near freezing and the top few inches of snow were very wet. The snow started to pick up again by midday as the temperature fell. The marsh that was beyond our backyard began to overflow by midday as well. During the afternoon, the snow became extremely heavy, and the water in the marsh rose to the highest level I had ever seen. Fire trucks came around asking if people wanted to evacuate. The marsh eventually flooded our basement with some water, but it was only minor. It was strange to see a foot or so of water banked up against our sliding glass door, and lots of moles/mice swimming across our yard fighting for their lives. The water even flooded our road so much that it was impassable until the next day. By dark, occasional lightning could be seen and thunder heard, with the thundersnow lasting into the evening. Much of my neighborhood lost power early in the day, but for some reason my house had power through most of the storm. The only time we didn't have power was late 2/7 into early 2/8, for a total of maybe 6-9 hours.
2/8/78: When I woke up in the morning, only a little light snow was falling and by midday, some breaks in the clouds were visible. Since the marsh overflowed on 2/7, all we had in our yard was a foot or so of solid ice since the snow certainly couldn't accumulate on water or slush. At that point, I didn't care so much about what was on the ground, as I knew I had witnessed the storm of a lifetime. My family still has the Boston Globe describing all the devastation across New England, particularly coastal Massachusetts.
12/5/81 - My soccer team was scheduled to play a semi-final playoff game on Saturday, 12/5, and the weather forecast was for a brief period of snow, changing to rain, which was what typically occurred in many winter storms. During the soccer game, which took place in northern RI, the snow began, and by the end of the game there was about 1" of snow on the ground. As my family drove back to Narragansett, the snow continued. By evening, the forecast was still for snow changing to rain, even though several inches of snow had fallen by late evening.
12/6/81 - When I woke up in the morning, there was over a foot of snow on the ground and snowing very heavily. By the time the snow ended during the afternoon, 20-24" of snow had fallen. There were huge drifts everywhere, but the heavy snow was so localized, with 12+" of snow along the southeastern coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, that this storm has been all but forgotten. It was the most snow I had seen since the Blizzard of 2/6-8/78.
This is one of the more famous New England snowstorms due to how late it was in the season. The snow had begun before dawn, so by mid-morning there were a few inches of snow on the ground. By midday,when I was at a friend's house in my neightborhood, thunder began to boom outside. For several hours, frequent cloud to ground lightning and crashing thunder occurred, while heavy sleet fell. I couldn't believe the frequency of the lightning and heavy rate of sleet falling! During the thunderstorms, one lightning bolt hit the solar panels on my house and knocked off a valve. By mid-afternoon, the thunder ended, and the sleet changed back to snow. When the snow ended around sunset, we had around 8". During the late afternoon, my home barometer dipped to its lowest level I have ever observed, 28.87".
This was a well-forecasted storm, so there was no surprise. The snow began a few hours after sunset on 2/11/83 and became heavy before midnight. The snow remained heavy until around 8 am on 2/12/83, when the sun began to shine through the diminishing snow. The snow ended by 9 am. We received a total around 18-20" and had a huge drift outside one of our front doors, not bad for around 12 hours of snow.
The previous day, the storm tracked through the Carolinas and produced the worst tornado outbreak in their history. As the storm tracked to the New England coast, it continued to strengthen. I remember quite a bit of rain and snow mixed during the morning, along with increasing winds. Around midday, frequent cloud to ground lightning began and sleet and 1/4" hail mixed in with the rain and snow. This lasted around an hour, and then just became the rain snow mix again, which lasted through the afternoon. The winds increased through the day, and by late afternoon, the ocean was occasionally crashing over the Narragansett sea wall. The wind was very steady and strong, and the storm drains near the sea wall were like little geysers as water was pushed vertically out of them. It was a little startling watching the water crash over the sea wall (which was built in response to the devastating 1938 hurricane). Later that night we received about an inch of snow before the storm departed.
It was quite a snowy winter during my freshman year at SUNY Albany. In fact, Albany was snowier than Buffalo during this winter. This storm was the biggest of the season. We received around 15-17" of snow, on top of what already was on the ground, so it was very difficult to walk around the campus. The piles of plowed and shoveled snow were significantly over my head. Once the snow ended during the day of 1/23/87, a trailing little system blew off the Great Lakes and down the Mohawk Valley after sunset. This trailing system brought a 15 minute snow squall with snowfall rates that I will likely never see again. My view of the Physical Education Building from Tuscarora Hall at Indian Quad usually featured bright spotlights on top of the building, which was several thousand feet away. During this snow squall, I could not see the spotlights, something that never occurred during any other snowfall. In fact, I couldn't see more than a few feet out the window. It was a white out, and 2" of snow fell in that 15 minutes, that equates to a snowfall rate of 8" per hour! This was the heaviest snow I have ever seen, and will likely never see again.
This is a legendary storm in the Albany, Catskill and Berkshire areas. That Saturday night 10/3/87, featured a cold rain with temperatures in the 30s. When I got back to my dorm room (Hamilton Hall on Colonial Quad) during the early morning hours of 10/4/87, it was still raining.
10/4/87 - When my friends woke me up at 9 am, they kept yelling about snow and telling me to look out my window. I looked out my window to see heavy snow falling and some unknown amount of snow covering the ground and trees. All the trees in the region still had all their leaves, so you can imagine the problems heavy, wet snow on the trees could cause. I measured a total of 7" in the center of Colonial Quad, when it ended by early afternoon. The snow knocked down so many trees and power lines throughout the area that power was out outside the university (which had its own backup generators) for a couple of days and roads were a mess. The next couple of days, 10/5-6/87, were warm with temperatures near 60 degrees, so the snow melted very quickly. This was the earliest snow I have ever seen.
This Thanksgiving storm was very well forecasted. The snow began after midnight, and I woke up at 3 am to check. I saw the heavy snow falling so I went outside for a short time. There was an inch or two of snow. I came back in and went to sleep. When I woke up, the snow was beginning to taper off, and the snow ended during the early afternoon. I measured a total of 8" of snow, which was quite rare in coastal New England in November. That night, when the sky cleared, the temperature fell to a new monthly low temperature record in the single digits.
I was in Raleigh, NC during the storm because I had a couple of days off work. Basically, it was just breezy and rainy the whole time, with a brief changeover to snow during the late afternoon. The barometer on my watch plunged to 956 mb as the storm tracked overhead. When the storm departed, there was about an inch of snow around Lake Johnson.
When I returned to Wilmington the day after, I saw amazing destruction. Some signs on I-40 were blown away. There was unbelievable damage to homes and businesses, as well as some power lines down. Lots of shingles were ripped off buildings and quite a bit of debris was scattered everywhere throughout the city, including my condo complex. I was told that the sun shined as the storm tracked northwest of Wilmington, and the wind howled at near hurricane force, with hurricane force gusts much of the day. Some of the waterfront area along the Cape Fear River got flooded and south-facing beaches along Brunswick County had damage as well. Some areas of Wilmington were without power for many days.
I had to work midnight shifts this week at NWS Wakefield, VA. The snow started on the afternoon of 1/6/96 and by 10 pm, when I left for work, there were several inches of snow on the ground. I left for work at 10 pm, knowing my 38 mile commute would require quite a bit of extra time. I had to follow a snow plow along part of Rt. 460 to get to work, which took an hour and a half. Once my shift was over, the snow had changed to ice, but I made it home in an hour and a half, almost getting stranded in a couple of drifts. It was only sleeting at home. The sleet changed to snow during the day, but I couldn't make it into work for my next midshift due to ice around the Wakefield, VA area. I made it into the next midshift, but storm wouldn't depart. That morning, one more band of snow fell, very fluffy snow, for an additional 5" on top of the 9" I had, so the storm total I saw at my place was 14".
I had to work midnight shifts through this
storm as well. I witnessed about 1/8" of ice and 4" of sleet during the
day of 2/1/96 before it changed to snow that night. The Wakefield, VA area
received quite a bit of ice and sleet, around 1/4" to 1/3" of ice. Hampton
Roads and Northeastern North carolina had a devastating ice storm. During
the evening of 2/1/96, the sleet changed to snow at my place, and overspread
all of central, southern and eastern Virginia as well as northeastern North
Carolina. The snow band dropped about 3" of fluffy snow at my place and
around 4" of fluff at NWS Wakefield, VA before sunrise on 2/2/96. So, the
total of sleet and snow at my place was 7-8", and about the same at NWS
Wakefield, VA. The morning of 2/3/96 was super cold, and below zero temperatures
were observed over much of interior Virginia.
I was at my grandparents house on the south shore of Long Island, NY and remember my whole family going to the ocean front to look at the waves being kicked up by the strong winds.
When we returned to Narragansett, RI, we saw large tree limbs down in our yard and other yards, so the wind and rain must have been impressive in RI as well.
I remember waking up in the morning when Belle was tracking through central New England, and seeing our huge birch tree in our front yard bending WAY over during each gust of wind. The wind was never strong enough to knock down trees or limbs, and we didn't receive a whole lot of rain either.
David tracked well northwest of RI. I remember being in school and looking out the window at the torrential rain and gusty winds, as well as the occasional thunder and lightning. By afternoon, when school let out, the rain had stopped, but the winds were fairly strong, not enough to knock down trees or limbs. Before sunset, the clouds broke up and the sun shined, but the winds slackened after sunset.
Gloria looked to be headed for the North Carolina coast, but made a last-second swing to the north and northeast, which was very well forecasted by the National Hurricane Center. I remember the morning before it struck Long Island, NY, the media was forecasting winds up to 170 MPH on the east side of the storm, which could affect coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island. I was very concerned.
That morning my family boarded up our sliding glass door, and secured some of our trees. We drove around the town and went to the beach and saw the increasing surf, along with some lumber sales in people's yards. The sun dimly shined until about 10 am and the winds slowly picked up. We heard the police driving around our neighborhood with their megaphones describing evacuation procedures and available shelters. Some neighbors did go to shelters or relative's houses to be safe. Shortly after noon, my home anemometer indicated gusts around 40 MPH. We received only 2 brief downpours during the whole storm, totaling .02" of rain, otherwise, just light salty spray was flying through the air during the whole storm.
During the early afternoon, the wire connecting the anemometer with the wind speed indicator broke because it wasn't properly secured to the house, so the maximum wind I saw was around 45 mph. During the rest of the afternoon, my brother and I were outside trying to get the wire to secure it, but the wind was too strong. The wind gusted just over hurricane force, according to reports on television, and we knew the hurricane was tracking too far west to give our area a direct hit. When the wind subsided that evening, there was no damage to our house, and many of the trees and shrubs in our yard looked battered, but no large limbs or trees were down. Damage in other nearby areas was considerable, with lots of large limbs and some trees knocked down, mostly in heavily wooded areas, and power was out in many places. We were lucky enough to have our power lines underground, so we never lost power.
During my senior year at SUNY Albany, Hurricane Hugo tracked well west of the area, but on the back side of the remnants, Hugo dragged cold air into the northeastern U.S. I looked out my window in my apartment at Freedom Quad and saw sleet bouncing around as the precipitation ended. The temperature was around 40 degrees. I doubt I'll see sleet this early ever again.
I have seen truly impressive lightning displays everywhere I have lived, but surprisingly, the most outrageous lightning display I have ever seen was in Narragansett, RI, where only 15 thunderstorms occur on average per year, and most of those aren't very strong. During the evening of 7/29/86, severe thunderstorms developed over Connecticut and Long Island, and tracked along the southern New England coast. For 7 straight hours (about 730 pm to 3 am), literally rows or walls of lightning bolts flashed almost continuously in all directions, some striking close, and some distant. The rain was very heavy and winds were gusty from time to time. I didn't witness any hail, but some nearby towns observed flooding and marginally severe hail. The near-continuos lightning allowed me to see the roiling clouds as thunderstorms trained over the area for hours. The thunder was amazingly loud and continuous. The storms became more distant after midnight, and I was able to fall asleep with the more distant rumbles. At 3 am, one last thunderstorm tracked through, and lightning struck my house, causing my old television in my room to turn on, even though it was switched off. Some circuit must have blown in my TV because I couldn't turn it off, so I unplugged it. The storms ended quickly after that. I have never seen lightning like that since.
My wife, son and I were driving on Rt. 10 and saw the approaching storm, so we decided to park in the parking lot of T.D. High School to wait it out. The droopiest mammatus clouds drifted overhead just before the storm began. An ugly gust front cloud then approached, and we could see frequent lightning and a precipitation shaft behind the gust front. Once the gust front arrived (about 315 pm) a few random marble to dime hail stones started pinging our car and bouncing on the pavement. My wife panicked and quickly zoomed under the awning at the entrance to the school. It's a good thing we did that, because just as we got under the awning, a vicious hail and rain storm began. Hail of varying sizes was bouncing everywhere, looking almost like a snow storm, and causing quite a loud racket. The wind was quite gusty and the lightning was fairly frequent. The hail lasted 15 minutes (320 pm to 335 pm) and I periodically dashed out of the car to pick up the largest stones out of the grass. The biggest ones were the size of half dollars, or about 1.25" in diameter! Other cars sought shelter under the awning as well, and no one could believe what we were seeing. Once the storm ended, we left and saw leaves and twigs everywhere. We saw on the news that larger hail fell just up the road in Chesterfield, and many people claimed damage to cars. I just wish I had brought my video camera, as I'll likely never see a hail storm like that again.
During the early morning hours, around 3 or 4 am, strong thunderstorms developed over southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. These thunderstorms were nearly stationary through about 10 am, resulting in 4" to 8" of rain locally. Since our house was approximately the highest point in our neighborhood and the ocean was less than a mile east of our house, the roads in my neighborhood sloped down about 40 feet toward the ocean. The water flowing down the main road leading to the ocean was like a little river, due to the heavy rain, and the intersection with the road paralleling the beach was under several feet of rushing water. The rushing water carved 5+ foot deep "canyons" into the sand as it ran off into the ocean, and was an unbelievable sight. Several hours later, my friend and I checked out these "canyons", and the erosion was so severe, that my friend found an empty bottle of soda that was dated from 1959. There was a lot of standing water in people's yards, and some children were swimming in some of the new little lakes in their yards.
Most significant Ice Storm I've ever seen:
December 23-24 1998 - Central/Eastern Virginia
The temperature on 12/23 never got out of the 20s as the overcast got thicker through the day. By 4 pm, a few sprinkles of light freezing rain began. By 5 pm, the light freezing rain became steady, but wasn't freezing much on the pavement, although some of the cars and houses began to get icicles on them. By evening the temperature hovered in the mid 20s while moderate freezing rain mixed with sleet began to fall. Through the evening hours, moderate to heavy freezing rain and sleet fell, and right before I went to sleep, some of the icing could be seen on the trees and grass, besides the icicles on the houses around us. During the morning of 12/24, I went outside and by 11 am, there was just light sleet and snow mixed. There was 3/4" to 1" of ice on all the trees, shrubs, grass, and everything. It was a scene I had never seen before. I took many pictures and video around the house. Many large branches had fallen and one of our neighbor's trees fell in the back yard. Since most of the trees in the neighborhood are sturdy oaks, very few trees were knocked down. Our power went out just about noon on 12/24, and returned at 345 am on 12/25. The next day, driving along Rt. 10, with the sun shining, many trees were down near and into the roads. Some trees looked like they were peeled like a banana. It was like driving through a crystal cathedral with all the ice surrounding us. The ice fell off the trees like a continuous noisy hail storm around 12/28 and 12/29 during a thaw. The noise of the ice falling off the trees was amazing, and driving into the ice falling off the trees was dangerous. I hope I never see an ice storm like this again.
Latest multiple-inch snow storm I've ever seen:
April 22-23 1999 - Boulder, Colorado
I was in Boulder for a training course, when a snowstorm struck. During the early morning hours of 4/22, rain changed to snow and we received nearly 4" of wet snow. The snow ended by midmorning, and temperatures rose to the upper 30s, so much of the snow melted during the day. Rain began again during the afternoon, then changed to snow before midnight, continuing until midmorning 4/23. We received around 6" of snow from this episode. The next day, I went to Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak, Pueblo and Canon City. There was over 2' of snow at Pikes Peak which wasn't accessible, but there was around 2' of snow over 12,000 ft up the mountain. I also saw nearly 3/4" of rime ice on the vegetation within the cloud deck we tracked through. Near Canon City, driving through various elevations, we went from light rain and bare ground to moderate snow and several inches of snow on the ground within a couple of miles of road! Just a small change in elevation resulted in a huge difference in precipitation type! I believe this is typical for mountainous areas, but I had never witnessed it.