From the 19th century’s “Great White Hurricane” to 1993’s “Storm of the Century,” here’s a look back at some of the worst winter storms in U.S. history.
March 11-14, 1888
More than 120 winters have come and gone since the so-called “Great White Hurricane,” but this whopper of a storm still lives in infamy. After a stretch of rainy but unseasonably mild weather, temperatures plunged and vicious winds kicked up, blanketing the East Coast in snow and creating drifts up to 50 feet high. The storm immobilized New York, Boston and other major cities, blocking roads and wiping out telephone, telegraph and rail service for several days. When the skies finally cleared, fires and flooding inflicted millions of dollars of damage. The disaster resulted in more than 400 deaths, including 200 in New York City alone. In the decade that followed, partly in response to the 1888 storm and the massive gridlock it wrought, New York and Boston broke ground on the country’s first underground subway systems.
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