Jump to content

The 25th Anniversary Of The Blizzard Of 1996


Recommended Posts

The National Weather Service is doing a commemorative look back at the Blizzard.  I worked the five midnight shifts (always my joy shift) leading up to it and went in the day after when everyone at the office was stranded.  So here is my perspective I sent in to Valerie along with the two afds (back then sfds) I wrote when I was on the public desk back then. 

 

14.JPG

15.JPG

16.JPG

17.JPG

  • Like 14
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 62
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

The National Weather Service is doing a commemorative look back at the Blizzard.  I worked the five midnight shifts (always my joy shift) leading up to it and went in the day after when everyone at th

Family & friends threw my a surprise 30th b-day party the SAT evening just before the storm. Instead of devoting my full attention to the festivities I'm frequently ducking up to the bedroom to ch

Posted Images

My wife's employer was throwing a late holiday party that Friday evening. I just wanted to talk about the pending storm, but know one else had a clue of what was coming. I remember forecasts mentioning a foot of snow. Woke up Saturday morning to a beautiful explosive snowstorm. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Down in the basement, wife and kids asleep, waiting for the ETA to come in on the dial-up internet. The old 4-panel charts. For some reason only remember the 48-hour 700mb chart. Our area was bright yellow with upward motion. That's when I knew.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was about a year and a half old when this happened lol, but I love hearing people's stories about it (and any extreme weather stories) all the same. Heartwarming to hear that bit involving the intern, I like to think there are plenty of people who would do something similar today no matter how crazy and negative things may seem in the world.

Looking over the AFD's it popped out at me just how many more abbreviations there were, like "Getg back to tdy" I feel wouldn't be shortened at all in the present. Curious if this was just how AFD's were written back in the 90s, or if this was just your personal style of writing them.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

As a teen on Long Island, this was finally “THE ONE”.  No screw job like the 1993 Superstorm with sleet and rain. Just a long duration (24+ hours) snow and wind event. 

While totals weren’t as high as places further west it was the event I waited my whole childhood for living along the coast. 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Having grown up and lived in the western suburbs my entire life, I'm lucky (and old) enough to have enjoyed many of our historical snowstorms. The first one I really remember is the "surprise" Presidents' Day snow storm of 1979 when I was a kid, but the one that really hooked me was the megalopolitan storm of 1983 when I was a teenager. That was the first one I really followed as a weather fan (had my NOAA weather radio on nonstop!) and was Philadelphia's all-time biggest snowfall until 1996 rolled around.

I remember being disappointed by the Storm of the Century in 1993 thanks to the sleet, but 1996 made up for it in a big way. I've enjoyed all of the big ones that have come since, particularly the two in February 2010, but 1996 will always be my favorite.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, ACwx said:

I was about a year and a half old when this happened lol, but I love hearing people's stories about it (and any extreme weather stories) all the same. Heartwarming to hear that bit involving the intern, I like to think there are plenty of people who would do something similar today no matter how crazy and negative things may seem in the world.

Looking over the AFD's it popped out at me just how many more abbreviations there were, like "Getg back to tdy" I feel wouldn't be shortened at all in the present. Curious if this was just how AFD's were written back in the 90s, or if this was just your personal style of writing them.

AFD(s) are still hand typed today.  But back then you had to hand type every product: zones, marine forecasts, etc.  So in an effort to save some time there was a table of approved abbreviations. But, I would say I made up some as I went along. Not as much as the master: I use to joke we needed a Walt Drag decoder book to figure out some of his abbreviations.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great read - thanks Tony!

I was living in Exton at the time with my future wife who I would marry in October of 1996. She was scheduled to go the Paris for a meeting on Saturday night before the blizzard. I drove her to the airport....back then they let you get all the way to the gate. The US Air gate agent announced an overbook situation and offered a passenger a voucher and a flight that would leave the next day. My wife asked me if I thought the flight get out tomorrow (Sunday) I told her no - the airport would be closed by then. The gate agent laughed at me and she said we never close this airport....there might be a delay but only long enough to clean the runways. My wife really did not want to miss the meeting or the chance to go to Paris so....she got on the plane. Of course the airport did close for a quite a while on Sunday...

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was six years old living in Southeast Virginia and even I remember Jan 1996.  We were "blessed" with living in the northwestern exurbs of the Norfolk metro area, which--much like Western Chesco or Montco here--typically had double or more the annual snowfall of the coastal cities.  Of course... there, that meant 10 inches annually versus 5.  But anyways, we got a healthy snowfall.  I think between 6 and 12 inches, which for a six year old certainly felt like a lot.  Two days after the storm we drove 10 miles towards the coast to go to the store, and there was nothing. 

Tony that write up was hella cool.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was 17 for this storm.  I had about 25" at my location in Piscataway.  The snow piles were epic after shoveling.  It took me forever to clear the driveway since my sister was married and my brother was in an apartment (I wasn't going to let my mom help and my dad had passed).  The thing that still haunts me is that all the pics I took didn't come out when I went to develop the film.  Same thing happened with my film during one of those epic ice storms in 93-94.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Grade school field trip to Hunter Mtn NY for skiing.  My brother @EvanLoweryWx and I were watching TWC in the hotel and I recall the feeling maybe a day before when they updated their snowfall forecast to 12"+.  I had so rarely ever seen that aside from '93.  I was pumped.  The school bus full of 30 kids and chaperones didn't depart until the AM of the storm, when phone calls from nervous parents poured in that heavy snow was already falling.  So we departed early that morning, drove through the blizzard, across the Turnpike bridge before it was closed, and somehow made it home in one piece.  Something tells me a school bus wouldn't drive in that weather today.

I always loved snow, but this put me over the top into weeniedom.  Back then I still had a weather radio, and relied on TWC and local news forecasts.  I had no idea AFD's existed (sorry Tony!) but refreshed my computer every 5 seconds awaiting Gary Gray's update which I share most years here:

http://wow.americanwx.com/gg/

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was 19 for this storm and myself and 3 of my college buddies had a trip planned to Mexico for our Winter break.  We left a day early b/c of this pending storm as our plans were non-refundable and I remember actually being  bummed that I was going to miss it!.  I was at the Univ of Del and living at home during break in Bear DE were my parents got 24" of snow.  I distinctly remember flying back home and the last 3rd of the flight all you saw was white snowpack everywhere.  

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The one thing that stood out to me front that storm were the drifts. Somethings I’d never seen before. 4’+ easily. I know it made measuring tough by the time the storm was done. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Parsley said:

The one thing that stood out to me front that storm were the drifts. Somethings I’d never seen before. 4’+ easily. I know it made measuring tough by the time the storm was done. 

Yes one of a kind for this area; driving along the state highway afterwards was very impressive particularly in areas with open fields. Was lucky that a snow plowing contractor had moved in across the street. He tried to get out and plow on Monday but didn't get far on local roads. A nice guy he started on the neighborhood driveways, but even that was tough going and he got stuck several times and had to be pushed out.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Family & friends threw my a surprise 30th b-day party the SAT evening just before the storm. Instead of devoting my full attention to the festivities I'm frequently ducking up to the bedroom to check out TWC & watch the radar for any sign precip moving up from the south. Once I saw that green around DC latter in the evening I was able to relax & really enjoy the gig. After a long night & substantial alcoholic intake I got up just before 7:00 & it was already snowing steadily with a temp of only 11 degrees. The only time I can remember it colder during a snowstorm was FEB 2003 when it was 10 degrees. Nothing better than when every flake counts on rock solid frozen ground. Snow really poured down late morning into the afternoon. During dinner time there was lightning with a really loud clap of thunder accompanied by what I guess was sleet but it looked more like pea sized hail. Snow was more intermittent overnight & we dry slotted in the morning for awhile before the backside wrapped in with few more inches. At that time not many events could bump an Eagles / Cowboys playoff from the lead story and that was one of them. Unfortunately the Eagles themselves rendered the game meaningless one play began. Obviously in my lifetime the gold standard when it comes to snow storms and for that matter an entire season. Above average snowfall during every month from NOV to APR.

Pics from my parents house in Churchville Bucks

img073.jpg.7a7cb5c7bba9703d8c5c683ec5c22244.jpg

img076.jpg.86449988b62ad65c9da2c6a0a07c34ec.jpg

 

 

  • Like 11
Link to post
Share on other sites

You know you are getting old when pics from the mid-90s look like they are from the 60s or 70s. Sadly I have no pics, but I wouldn't be surprised if some are floating around my parents house. They had pics from the blizzard of 78 (before I was born) and I thought I'd never see that on Long Island. Well, I did in 1996.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Parsley said:

Anyone have snow totals (like public statements) for this event? For both OKX and PHI? Not a map. 

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PHILADELPHIA, PA
445 PM EST MON JAN 8 1996

...STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS AS OF 300 PM...

THIS WILL BE THE FINAL SNOWFALL ACCUMLATION STATEMENT FOR THIS
RECORD-BREAKING STORM.  MANY THANKS TO THE SPOTTERS AND OTHER
SOURCES WHO PROVIDED THESE SNOWFALL TOTALS.
     
...........IN PENNSYLVANIA..........

BUCKS COUNTY
     SOUDERTON        30 INCHES
     QUAKERTOWN       22 INCHES
     SPRINGTOWN       19.5 INCHES
     DOYLESTOWN       19 INCHES
     PERKASIE         30 INCHES
     SOUTHAMPTON      25 INCHES

CARBON COUNTY
     LEHIGHTON        20 INCHES

CHESTER COUNTY
     VALLEY FORGE     20 INCHES
     GLENMOORE        26 INCHES

DELAWARE COUNTY
     SECANE           20 INCHES
     NESHAMINY FALLS  23 INCHES

LEHIGH COUNTY
     ALLENTOWN        26 INCHES

MONTGOMERY COUNTY
     PALM             30 INCHES

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY
     WILLIAMS TWP.    37 INCHES

PHILADELPHIA COUNTY
     PHILADELPHIA     30.7 INCHES

..........IN NEW JERSEY..........

ATLANTIC COUNTY
      ESTELLE MANOR   15.7 INCHES
      HAMMONTON       18 INCHES
      ATLANTIC CITY   12 INCHES
      PLEASANTVILLE   12 INCHES
      PAMONA (ARPT)   14.6 INCHES

BURLINGTON COUNTY
      MCGUIRE AFB     27 INCHES
      MT. HOLLY       19.5 INCHES
      MARLTON         18 INCHES
      WILLINGBORO     18 INCHES

CAMDEN COUNTY
      PENNSAUKEN      18-24 INCHES
      MERCHANTVILLE   13 INCHES
      HADENFIELD      12 INCHES
      GLOUCESTER CITY 18-20 INCHES
      CHERRY HILL     33 INCHES

CUMBERLAND COUNTY
      VINELAND        9 INCHES
      MILLVILLE       15 INCHES
      NEWPORT         25 INCHES

GLOUCESTER COUNTY
      SEWELL          15.5 INCHES
      DEPTFORD        24 INCHES
      PITMAN          20 INCHES

HUNTERDON COUNTY
      FLEMINGTON      19 INCHES
      CALIFON         26 INCHES
      WHITE HOUSE     35 INCHES

MERCER COUNTY
      PRINCETON       16 INCHES
      WASHINGTON XING  13 INCHES

MIDDLESEX COUNTY
      EDISON          32 INCHES
      NEW BRUNSWICK   21.6 INCHES

MONMOUTH COUNTY
      HOWELL TOWNSHIP 17 INCHES

MORRIS COUNTY
      LONG VALLEY     28 INCHES

SOMERSET COUNTY
      POTTERSVILLE    22 INCHES

SUSSEX COUNTY
      WANTAGE         15 INCHES

WARREN COUNTY
      HACKETTSTOWN    21 INCHES
      BELVIDERE       20 INCHES
      STEWARTSVILLE   25.5 INCHES

..........IN DELAWARE..........

KENT COUNTY 
      DOVER           17 INCHES
      HARRINGTON      25 INCHES

NEW CASTLE COUNTY
      WILMINGTON      22 INCHES
      NEWARK          16 INCHES
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PHILADELPHIA PA/MOUNT HOLLY NJ
1030 PM EST MON JAN 8 1996

...ADDITIONAL FINAL ACCUMULATIONS...
     
           IN PENNSYLVANIA...
IN PHILADELPHIA COUNTY
     NORTHEAST PHL    35 INCHES

IN BERKS COUNTY
     READING          30 INCHES
     4 SW READING     EST 37 INCHES
      
IN CHESTER COUNTY
     EXTON            21.5 INCHES


           IN NEW JERSEY...
IN MONMOUTH COUNTY
      HOWELL TOWNSHIP 20 INCHES

IN SUSSEX COUNTY
      HIGH POINT      25 INCHES
      WANTAGE         24 INCHES
      HAINESVILLE     25 INCHES

IN WARREN COUNTY
      HACKETTSTOWN    27 INCHES
      STEWARTSVILLE   25.5 INCHES

IN MORRIS COUNTY
      CHATHAM         24 INCHES

IN MONMOUTH COUNTY
      HAZLET          29.8 INCHES

IN SOMERSET COUNTY
      BELLE MEAD      21.5 INCHES 

I wasn't aware of a Neshaminy Falls in Delco, thinking that's a typo & should be Bucks

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Parsley said:

Anyone have snow totals (like public statements) for this event? For both OKX and PHI? Not a map. 

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...RETRANSMITTED...
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
1100 AM EST TUE JAN 9 1996

THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF SNOWFALL AMOUNTS FROM THE TRI-STATE AREA
RECEIVED AT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE IN
BROOKHAVEN NY FOR THE SNOW EVENT OF JANUARY 7 AND JANUARY 8.

...NEW YORK CITY METROPOLITAN AREA...

                        SNOWFALL
                        (INCHES)

CENTRAL PARK              20.2
LA GUARDIA ARPT           24.0
KENNEDY ARPT              21.2
BRONX                     25.0
BROOKLYN                  23.7
STATEN ISLAND             27.5
QUEENS                    24.5

...LOWER HUDSON VALLEY...

PLEASANTVILLE             19.0
OSSINING                  20.0
WEST NYACK                19.4
MT. VERNON                28.0
TARRYTOWN                 22.0
CORTLAND MANOR            21.0
CROTON ON THE HUDSON      22.5
WHITE PLAINS              24.0
HARTSDALE                 22.5
SPRING VALLEY             24.0
PATTERSON                 24.5
YONKERS                   26.5
HAWTHORNE                 25.0
N. TARRYTOWN              24.0
GREENBURG                 24.0
CHESTER                   24.0
MAHOPAC                   22.0
SUFFERN                   20.5
VALLEY COTTAGE            21.5
POMONA                    24.0
PORT JEFFERSON            19.0

...NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY...

NEWARK  ARPT              28.0
JERSEY CITY               29.4
SADDLE BROOK              25.0
ELIZABETH                 28.8
LINDEN                    22.0
KARNEY                    18.5
HARRISON                  27.0     ALL TIME SNOWFALL RECORD

...LONG ISLAND...

NWSFO BROOKHAVEN(UPTON)   21.0
BRIDGEHAMPTON             26.0
MIDDLE ISLAND             20.5
RIDGE                     20.0
BABYLON                   27.0
SEA CLIFF                 18.0
OCEANSIDE                 20.2
MASSAPEQUA                17.5
MINEOLA                   18.0
LAKE RONKONKOMA           22.0
WADING RIVER              15.0
PATCHOGUE                 18.0
ISLIP                     18.0
BAYSHORE                  30.5
PATCHOGUE                 18.0

...SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT...

BRIDGEPORT                15.0
MERIDEN                   17.8
WETHERSFIELD              15.5
HADDAM                    18.5
NORWICH                   16.5
OLD SAYBROOK              14.0
NEW HAVEN                 17.5
DARIEN                    25.5
MILFORD                   26.0
NEW CANAAN                23.5
BEACON FALLS              25.0
DANBURY                   21.0
WATERBURY                 22.0
NEW MILFORD               18.0
WINCHESTER                21.0
THOMASTON                 18.0

THIS WILL BE THE LAST SNOWFALL TOTAL REPORT UNLESS CONDITIONS WARRANT
AN UPDATE. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WOULD LIKE TO GREATLY THANK ALL
OF OUR SPOTTERS FOR THEIR TIMELY REPORTS. YOUR EFFORTS WERE GREATLY
APPRECIATED.
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, colonel_kurtz said:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...RETRANSMITTED...
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
1100 AM EST TUE JAN 9 1996

THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF SNOWFALL AMOUNTS FROM THE TRI-STATE AREA
RECEIVED AT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE IN
BROOKHAVEN NY FOR THE SNOW EVENT OF JANUARY 7 AND JANUARY 8.

...NEW YORK CITY METROPOLITAN AREA...

                        SNOWFALL
                        (INCHES)

CENTRAL PARK              20.2
LA GUARDIA ARPT           24.0
KENNEDY ARPT              21.2
BRONX                     25.0
BROOKLYN                  23.7
STATEN ISLAND             27.5
QUEENS                    24.5

...LOWER HUDSON VALLEY...

PLEASANTVILLE             19.0
OSSINING                  20.0
WEST NYACK                19.4
MT. VERNON                28.0
TARRYTOWN                 22.0
CORTLAND MANOR            21.0
CROTON ON THE HUDSON      22.5
WHITE PLAINS              24.0
HARTSDALE                 22.5
SPRING VALLEY             24.0
PATTERSON                 24.5
YONKERS                   26.5
HAWTHORNE                 25.0
N. TARRYTOWN              24.0
GREENBURG                 24.0
CHESTER                   24.0
MAHOPAC                   22.0
SUFFERN                   20.5
VALLEY COTTAGE            21.5
POMONA                    24.0
PORT JEFFERSON            19.0

...NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY...

NEWARK  ARPT              28.0
JERSEY CITY               29.4
SADDLE BROOK              25.0
ELIZABETH                 28.8
LINDEN                    22.0
KARNEY                    18.5
HARRISON                  27.0     ALL TIME SNOWFALL RECORD

...LONG ISLAND...

NWSFO BROOKHAVEN(UPTON)   21.0
BRIDGEHAMPTON             26.0
MIDDLE ISLAND             20.5
RIDGE                     20.0
BABYLON                   27.0
SEA CLIFF                 18.0
OCEANSIDE                 20.2
MASSAPEQUA                17.5
MINEOLA                   18.0
LAKE RONKONKOMA           22.0
WADING RIVER              15.0
PATCHOGUE                 18.0
ISLIP                     18.0
BAYSHORE                  30.5
PATCHOGUE                 18.0

...SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT...

BRIDGEPORT                15.0
MERIDEN                   17.8
WETHERSFIELD              15.5
HADDAM                    18.5
NORWICH                   16.5
OLD SAYBROOK              14.0
NEW HAVEN                 17.5
DARIEN                    25.5
MILFORD                   26.0
NEW CANAAN                23.5
BEACON FALLS              25.0
DANBURY                   21.0
WATERBURY                 22.0
NEW MILFORD               18.0
WINCHESTER                21.0
THOMASTON                 18.0

THIS WILL BE THE LAST SNOWFALL TOTAL REPORT UNLESS CONDITIONS WARRANT
AN UPDATE. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WOULD LIKE TO GREATLY THANK ALL
OF OUR SPOTTERS FOR THEIR TIMELY REPORTS. YOUR EFFORTS WERE GREATLY
APPRECIATED.

Thank you sir!

And as crazy as I remember ISLIP with 18” while the next down over (Bayshore) coming in at 30.5”. I can remember to this day my dad saying “somebody was measuring in snow piles!”

I think I measured about 20” or so between those 2 towns. Which back then felt like 40”!

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...