Topper's Blog, Presidents' Day Blizzard 1979

11:08 PM, Feb 18, 2013   |    comments
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Another President's Day Blizzard

On this date in 1979 a poorly forecasted blizzard hit the Metro Area. (I remember it well I was interning at the National Weather Service in Hartford.) Snow began falling at night on the eighteenth and ended in the morning of the nineteenth. National recorded 18.7" inches which is still Downtown's third largest snowstorm on record. Only the Knickerbocker storm in January of 1922 and the Valentine's Day Blizzard in 1899 were larger. Snow depth was up to twenty three inches Downtown. The eighteen inches fell in a mere eighteen hours. There were reports of two to three inches per hour with temperatures in the single digits and teens. I am sorry to say that the forecast was for only four to six inches. It was a case of the storm not going out to sea but rather sliding up the coast close enough to bury us. This storm was a Mid-Atlantic storm. New York City had less than five inches with no snow in Hartford or Boston. Baltimore recorded twenty inches to also rank third all time.

The farmers drove their tractors to the Mall to protest agriculture prices and ended up digging the city out. The snow melted quickly and the winter as a whole was rather warm and wet. This storm just happened to have some arctic air in place. A total of 37.7" of snow fell that winter with 30.6" of hit falling in February alone. We recorded snow in November, December, January (only a trace), February and March.


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