From the ABC 7 Weather team

Remembering the historic "Superstorm of '93"

March 10, 2012 - 01:50 PM
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While we prepare for a summer-time weather pattern to emerge next week, can you believe it was 19 years ago this coming week we were watching one of the most intense Nor'easters to ever strike the Eastern United States unfold in front of our very eyes?!?

A strong high pressure building across the Atlantic will send the jet stream north all next week and temperatures will skyrocket from the 60s Monday to about 80 degrees by Friday! Record highs are even possible by Thursday! What a truly remarkable 360 from the weather conditions that unfolded in the East almost a quarter century ago!

A storm system that developed in the Gulf of Mexico on March 12, 1993 and began to rapidly intensify as southern and northern stream jet energy phased. Destructive storms whipped through Florida while record wind and snow were driven up along the East Coast over the course of the next two days.

superstorm

Termed, the “Storm of the Century,” the storm killed more than 250 people and cancelled 25% of the U.S.’s flights for two days! There were more deaths from the 1993 Superstorm than from Hurricane Hugo and Andrew.

Here are a few of the records brought on by this monster storm:

Record Wind Gust: Mount Washington, N.H.: 144 mph
Record Sea Level Pressure: White Plains, N.Y.: 28.28 inches, Baltimore: 28.51 inches
Record Snowfall Totals: Mt. Mitchell, N.C.: 50 inches, Grantsville, Md.: 47 inches, Dulles International: 14.1 inches (this brought the monthly total to 15.5 inches, most ever in March).

Speaking of snowfall locally from this blizzard, 13 inches fell in the District, a foot accumulated in Baltimore with 18 inches in Frederick County, Md. Baltimore recorded a gust to 69 mph.

totals

Locally, 11 people died in Virginia, one death was reported in the District and Maryland either while the storm was ongoing or shortly after it ended. Snow cleanup costs were estimated at $500,000 in D.C., $22-million in Maryland and $16-million in Virginia.

Mid-to-late March can be notorious for big end of season winter storms! A report from Howard County, Md., from March 11-13, 1772 indicated a storm dropped 17 inches of snow with more snow on March 20th, bringing the snowfall amount on the ground to a whopping 20 inches!

The Blizzard of ’88, dubbed “White Hurricane,” completely blacked out Washington with the exception of a few gas lights. A half to one foot of snow blanketed the District along with a sheet of ice on top of that. Adding to the misery, wind gusts hit 48 mph! More than 40 mariners died on the Chesapeake Bay from this whopper.

Just four years later, on March 15-18, 1892, Baltimore had a storm that produced 16 inches of fresh powder while D.C. had 7.8 inches. Last but not least, March 15-16, 1900 brought yet another winter storm with 10 inches piling up in the District.

March definitely lives up to its name of being a "transition season." We can get buried by major Nor’easters or it can shoot up to a balmy 93 degrees as it did on March 23, 1907! Welcome to spring!

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