Thursday, March 12, 2015

And the show went on.

And the show went on.

The St. Patrick's Day "Blizzard Parade" of 1993 
Image credit:

4:00 PM 3/12 (By Greg Jackson and Matt Balash, California University of PA- originally written in 2012) 

Do you remember March 13, 1993?  The city of Pittsburgh certainly does.  This year, snow will most certainly not cover the pot o’ gold, but instead a rainbow of warm temperatures in the 50s have make conditions feel almost "summer-like." Twenty-two years ago, luck of the Irish brought Pittsburgh a different type of weather for the St. Patrick's Day parade, one they would not soon forget.

For some it feels like last month. In that year, preparation for the annual Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade had been going on for months, and finally the day of festivities had arrived.  In 1869 the first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held, but in 1904 the Parade had been suspended.  The next parade didn’t run until 1950, and from then on, the Parade was city-wide tradition.

In 1993, the parade ended up was much different than any held in the past. As many citizens of Pittsburgh awoke to the falling snow, word around the city was the parade had been canceled.  Jim Wilson of Bethel Park didn’t need to hear the word; “I thought to myself ‘The parade's cancelled for sure, and fell back into bed.” 

Some brave men and women just couldn’t bear the thought of a year without the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  So, the thought was: “The festivities must go on!  Only about a few hundred spectators showed up for the beginning of the Parade, and at this point the roads were covered and impassable. 

Terry Griffith remembers how quick the parade truly was, “The usual four hour parade was over in less than an hour. Now the real difficulty facing people in town was realized."

Officially, 24.6 inches of snow fell on the city  that day, as snowfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour were recorded.  A report by the Pittsburgh National Weather Service as outlined in the WJAC weather blog detailed the snowfall throughout the area. By the end of the parade every participant, either a spectator or one who marched, was covered in snow and nearly frozen.  Taxi and bus services had been shut down, roads were snow covered, and the parkway had been closed.  Those who came to watch the parade from out of town were obviously stuck in Pittsburgh until the roads were properly treated, which came fairly quickly considering the circumstances.  

By the next day, the main roads were plowed enough to allow for slow traffic to move out of the city if necessary, but drifting was still a problem. 

The blizzard of 1993 still stands as the 100-year blizzard for most areas on the Eastern Seaboard, but because Pittsburgh’s Irish green and gold pride stood out through the snow on that day, the city will always be known as dedicated to its Irish Heritage, and the event is forever recorded as the "St. Patrick's Day Blizzard Parade."

About the Authors

Greg "Winterman" Jackson (Right) was one of the original six Maryland members of the Foot's Forecast team, as Lead Forecaster started our Central Maryland facebook page on January 1, 2010 went on to serve as Mid-Atlantic Director among many other roles across a 4 year term of service to the team and our readers. A 2011 graduate of North Carroll High School in Carroll County, MD, he is currently a junior at California University of Pennsylvania in Environmental Science.

Forecaster Matt Balash has been on the team since the Fall of 2011, and experienced right away the thrill of multi-state forecasting as he was part of the Hurricane Irene Incident Team to cover the Maryland team when many lost power in the storm. Also a junior at the California University of Pennsylvania, Matt is studying Environmental Science and Meteorology, respectively. He has been a frequent contributor to the Northern West Virginia Foot's Forecast page in Facebook, and has attended numerous events with the Maryland team in recent years. 


kyleZ said...

Was not alive for the 93 storm but I could use a repeat and a foot or two of white heavy paste. The end of month looks cold but any snow seems limited but who knows we can get some juicy storms in March .

Westsidehideaway said...

Greetings from Mexico. Westside and the Mrs. Split West Bmore for a week in Playa del Carmen. It's sunny, hot, nice breeze and a great beach. See ya soon.

kristia35 said...

You know winter is over when no one posts after midnight anymore and Andy has relegated the Manwich to the back of the pantry for next year.

BioPat said...

For the most part Winter 2015 is over. Even the school districts have placed their makeup plans in place. Whatever happened to adding an hour on to each day and using the time productively instead of adding days onto Holidays when students are out with already made plans. Or worst yet adding days to the end of the year when it becomes a marathon filmfest to meet the time requirements.
I think we may still see some days of snow showers but so far as accumulating snows - see ya next year!

kyleZ said...

friday looks interesting

BioPat said...

Friday and Sunday look interesting but I still contend accumulation on warm surfaces would be wet and sloppy but not icy.

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