Blizzard edition!

snowstorm, February 10, 2010

The view from my front door today.

Here in northern New Jersey we are stuck inside today, of course. It’s a perfect day to think about blizzards past, if only to make us feel better about the one currently outside the door.

Blizzards are classic stuff of family history legend. (Unless you’re in a hurricane zone, which is a whole other story.) In the New York City area, the Great Blizzard of 1888 continues to exert a fascination, not surprising for a storm that dumped between 40 and 50 snowy inches on the citizenry.

For Chicagoans, the blizzard of 1967 left a vivid impression. And the double punch blizzards of January 1978 and February 1978 made their marks (and memories)  across several states. (The February ’78 storm was particularly nasty in Providence, R.I. — if you like blizzard stories, be sure to click here for Rhode Island recollections.)

Another staple of blizzard stories is the incessant arguments about who got how much snow where. Thank goodness the weather service guys have always braved the elements and the controversy on that one:

Undated image: measuring snow

Forest Service employees measuring snow depth. Undated photo, online collection of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Department of Commerce.

Incidentally, if you like weather photos (oh, you do, you know you do!) you cannot afford to miss the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s fascinating collection of digital images. Browse around — it’s another excuse to put off shoveling snow, right?

Here are photos of some of my snowstorms past.

The view from my New Jersey home: February 2003.

Above is my street during the so-called President’s Day blizzard, Feb. 16-17, 2003. Wildly varying snow totals on this one, but I think we got about 20 inches or so in our part of New Jersey.

Blizzard of 1996, Somerset County, NJ.

And this is the aftermath of the great nor’easter of 1996, which I missed, being a resident of Chicago at the time. It was one of those rare moments when my New Jersey family had cold-weather bragging rights over me, so my brother thoughtfully sent me this photo, which I shall always treasure, especially seeing as I did not have to dig these particular cars out.

Bloomington, Indiana: View from my student apartment.

No, this isn’t a whole lot of snow, per se, but it was noteworthy for southern Indiana, where I was in college at the time. We were quite excited until we realized we hadn’t gone grocery shopping before the storm. I’m sure we managed somehow. College students always do.

Feel free to share some of your own snowy memories, too!

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One Comment on “Blizzard edition!”

  1. LilacFestival says:

    I recently found a great picture of my grandfather — climbing up a 6′ snowbank to deliver mail in Rochester NY. His tin-lizzy looking mail truck is visible next to him. The caption reads: “That terrible winter of 1944 and 1945 that I will never forget.”

    Two snowy memories — I grew up in a very snowy place — average snowfall 125″/year compared to 25″ here in NNJ. A favorite blizzard memory: In second or third grade being released early from school during the blizzard to WALK a long way home! Second memory: Sledding down a jalopy that my brother had parked in the backyard (it was fun!) — the caption on the back of that photo reads “Easter 1974″!


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