Jan. 6: The Blizzard of 1996 considered worst on record forces people from homes


On this day, nearly two decades ago, a severe blizzard hit the northeast, pummeling the region with just under 4 feet of snow in less than 72 hours. The storm, and the compounding one that followed on Jan. 12, paralyzed the East Coast.

It makes the near-record cold temperatures hitting the Midwest seem a little more bearable, right?

The Blizzard of 1996 still stands as one of the worst on record, earning it the top rating of 5, or “extreme,” on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. Only one other storm—the March Superstorm of 1993—has such a distinction. The storm created whiteout conditions from Maryland up the coast with winds gusting at 40 miles per hour, along with thunder and lightning, and didn’t let up for days.

When the storm cleared, Philadelphia emerged as the hardest hit major city, with 30.7 inches accumulating in its borders. New York City received so much snow that the public schools were shut down for the first time since the late 1970s.

Disposing of all that snow became a huge problem, but luckily it became unseasonably warm later that month and it all melted away—but of course flooding followed.

For all those in the Midwest facing today’s winter disaster--temperatures dropping below -40 (down to 60 below zero in parts of Minnesota)—stay warm, and stay home as much as you can. If you’re still shivering at home, try some quick ways to warm up your home right now, and maybe invest in some wise ways to save money on your higher-than-normal heating bills.

Ilyce Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated real estate columnist, blogger and radio talk show host, and managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Glink.


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