Historical Winter Storms - 1800s
The 19th century had several notable winter weather events.
The "Year without a Summer"In 1816, Savannah, Georgia, celebrated the 4th of July with a high temperature of 46°F! Because it was so cold across the eastern U.S., crops were ruined as the growing season was shortened. Snow even fell in June, the heaviest in New England between June 6th and 11th, creating snow drifts 18 to 20 inches in parts of Vermont.
This cooler than normal weather also contributed to crop failure in Canada and Western Europe. There was also sunspots on the sun visible to the naked eyes. This combined with the unusual amount of volcanic dust in the stratosphere might have lead to global cooling.
It has been theorized that a series of volcanic eruptions in earlier in the decade ejected billions of cubic yards of fine volcanic dust high into the atmosphere. On St. Vincent Island in the Caribbean, Soufrière erupted in 1812. In the Philippines, the Mayon Volcano erupted in 1814, and Mount Tambora, located in Indonesia, erupted in 1815.
The Blizzard Of 1888The Blizzard of 1888 affected the eastern United States from March 10th through March 14th.
It began as a weak area of low pressure that formed in the northern Gulf of Mexico on March 10th before tracking up through Georgia to the North Carolina coast by March 11th. Moving slowly northward on March 11th and 12th, the storm remained relatively stationary off the southern New England coast on March 12th and 13th.
Light amounts of snow fell from the mountains of Tennessee up through the state of Maryland, while heavier snow fell from New Jersey up through eastern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and much of southern New England, except Rhode Island and Cape Cod.
The largest city in the nation at that time, New York City, was blanketed by snow, as photographs taken after the event showed. After a balmy, unseasonable day before, snow began falling around midnight on the night of March 12th. Blizzard conditions developed as temperatures plummeted and fierce winds began to blow.
By the time the storm ended early on March 14th, 22 inches of snow had fallen in New York City. In Brooklyn 26 inches fell with 32 inches in White Plains. The relentless winds associated with the storm blew snow on the ground into tremendous drifts.
Over four feet of snow fell in the Albany and Troy areas of northeastern New York state. Similar amounts of snow were measured in areas such as Middleton, Connecticut.
More than 400 people lost their lives in the Blizzard of 1888, primarily due to exposure to strong winds and cold temperatures.
Storm Of The 19th CenturyBetween February 1 and 14, 1899, a cold wave caused a massive East Coast blizzard and induced bitter cold temperatures across two-thirds of the Nation, from the Rockies to the Atlantic Ocean.
"In a sense this is probably the first and only time true blizzard conditions existed in the state of Florida. In fact, Florida probably experienced their only blizzard in history with this particular storm," says Paul Kocin, Winter Weather Expert for The Weather Channel.
View the story of this "storm of the century" through our Special Report, complete with video documenting the event.