Sunday, March 11, 2012

2012: Sunshine and Blue Skies
1993: Superstorm of the Century

 What do you remember about March 1993? 

9:00 PM EDT 3/11/12 Nineteen years ago this week, if you were anywhere between central Alabama and northern Maine, you would soon be digging out from the most ferocious winter storm to strike the Eastern US in over a century. Heck, if you were anywhere East of the Mississippi, this storm impacted your life. For a scientific retrospective, view this 15-year report published in 2008 by Risk Management Solutions on the storm that changed how we view storms. 

In the city of Pittsburgh, PA the event became know as the "St. Patrick's Day Blizzard Parade" as discussed in a special Fusion Forecast story and featured on our Three Rivers Zone in southwest Pennsylvania.

The unofficial title, 'Storm of the Century' seems perfectly fitting for a blizzard that was at times more tropical in nature even though it began as a snowstorm. As an example of it's study in contrasts for just one state: Florida. 
While northern Florida experienced sustained wind gusts equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane (111 mph), the Panhandle received 4" of snow while storm surges of 9-12 feet pounded the western shore.

  • From March 12 to 15, nearly 12 inches of snow fell in every major city from Atlanta, GA to Augusta, ME shutting every airport down between them for over a day. 
  • A central pressure of 960 mb was recorded in White Plains, NY, on par with a Category 1 hurricane. 47" of snow was reported in Grantsville, MD
  • Temperatures in Birmingham, Alabama dropped to 2 deg March! 
Every adult resident of the East coast today has a "storm story" about this one, and though many of us enjoy big storms, we can count ourselves as lucky that this history did not repeat itself. Powderhounds, we yield the floor to share your tales of this lifetime event.

"Superstorm 1993: A Case Study" Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois.

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