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The Blizzard of February 1899


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While we may not have any blizzards on the near-term horizon here in Chester County PA...of interest today back in 1899 marked the end of the largest snowstorm in recorded Chester County history back to 1894. The US Department of Agriculture cooperative weather observer for Coatesville PA was Mr. W.T. Gordon (see his attached hand written observation record below). I gave a talk on this storm a few years back for the East Nantmeal Township Historical Society and it certainly got a reaction!

Mr Gordon noted that snow began falling at 7:30pm on February 11th. That day had been a very cold day with the high temperature only reaching 11 degrees above zero...following an AM low of 13 degrees below zero. The following day the 12th featured snow of varying intensity continuing all day. It was a bitterly cold day with the high temperature only reaching 8 degrees above zero after the morning low of just 2 degrees above. Snow accumulated an additional 7.1" during the day of the 12th . The storm then really kicked into high gear on the 13th as the ocean low deepened explosively along the arctic front and moved up the coast - snow and wind increased during the day with winds now out of the northeast across Chester County. By 9pm on the evening of the 13th an astounding 35.3" of snow had fallen during the preceding 24 hours ending at that hour. The snow continued to fall heavily after his last observation at 9pm on the 13th. By the morning of the 14th - the snow had ended but he measured an additional 10" of snow. Bringing the storm total to an incredible 53.0". On the morning of February 15th Mr. Gordon recorded the greatest snow depth in Chester County history when he measured 69.8" of snow on the ground....that's right 5 feet 8 inches of snow were on the ground following the greatest Blizzard in Chester County History on this day back in 1899.

Coatesville Feb 1899 obs.jpg

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