15 Biggest Blizzards in US History

Credit: Colin Lloyd

The biggest blizzards in US history are memorable for many reasons. One of those is the immutable fact that the damage and inconvenience they caused are still memorable for those who lived through them.

Credit: C.H. Jordan

The Great White Hurricane: 1888

Hitting 10 states and affecting roughly a quarter of the US population in the late 19th century is no joke. Telephone lines were brought down, and trains couldn’t run due to snowdrifts. The death toll attributed to this storm was around 400 lives. This is considered one of the worst losses of life due to a winter storm.

Credit: Detroit Publishing Company

The Great Arctic Outbreak: 1899

Around the middle of February 1899, the temperature took a nosedive. Weather patterns moving in from Canada affected the eastern states in a big way. The Midwest was hit as well. By the 10th, the temperature was in the negative digits.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Great Lakes Storm: 1913

The titles given to this storm are the ‘Big Blow’ and the ‘White Hurricane’. This was one of the deadliest winter storms on record, and it still is. The Great Lakes Basin took a pounding from early November onward.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Knickerbocker Storm: 1922

The Knickerbocker Storm gets its name from the doomed theater that collapsed due to the effects of the storm. Over two feet of snow fell in 24 hours in Washington D.C., which was a record. Despite predictions, it was still a huge surprise.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Chicago Blizzard: 1967

Chicago has dealt with a lot of stress throughout history. The storm that rolled through in the late 60s paralyzed the city for a while. The buses, O’Hare Airport, and even private citizens trying to commute were forced to come to a standstill. At some point, helicopters had to deliver essential shipments to hospitals.

Credit: WGal

Storm of the Century: 1993

No, it’s not the Stephen King story that came out on TV six years later. This Superstorm came up from the Gulf of Mexico, reaching the eastern seaboard and into Canada. As damages go, it caused $5.5 billion when all was said and done.

Credit: Jeff Kubina

North American Blizzard: 1996

60 people lost their lives during this storm. Lasting from January 6th to 8th, the storm struck Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Virginia, and Providence in a big way. In some spots, the snow was four feet deep. Many vehicles were stranded.

Credit: Wikipedia

Presidents Day Storm: 2003

This storm lasted from the 15th of February to the 18th. It was the biggest storm that Washington D.C. had seen since 1996. Huge snowdrifts were plentiful as people took to walking, as driving was nearly impossible.

Credit: Charles Krupa

Massachusetts Blizzard: 2005

Just imagine watching people ski through Boston. One to two feet of snow falling in two days doesn’t sound like a lot, but the bulk of the snowfall came later and provided a veritable winter wonderland for those who knew how to take advantage of it.

Credit: Wikipedia

New York Blizzard: 2006

This storm was the largest on record for New York City in 2006. From February 11th to 12th a dump of snow filled the streets and made life extremely difficult for the Big Apple. Not only that, but the citizens were also able to witness a thunderstorm during this time, which is rare to be certain.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Snowmageddon: 2010

Former president Barack Obama coined this term. A little under three feet of snow hit Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., which isn’t too bad. But five days later a second blizzard would hit, which gives a little more credence to the title the storm was given.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Groundhog Day Storm: 2011

This was the third-largest blizzard in Chicago’s history. That might not sound significant, but when roughly 1,000 cars are stranded and power outages disrupt an entire city it’s tough not to notice. Not only that, but most of Northern Illinois was affected.

Credit: Market Watch

Storm Jonas: 2016

The Eastern seaboard was hit in a big way from January 22nd to the 24th in 2016. JFK Airport had to deal with roughly two and a half feet of snow, which is a big problem for aircraft. Roughly 50 people lost their lives and travel was banned until the snow cleared.

Credit: Phys.org

Polar Vortex: 2019

The weather has reached a critical point when a state of emergency is declared. If all information is accurate on this matter, temperatures reached lower than those in Antarctica during this storm. Imagine, gas fires were needed to keep the trains moving. Yeah, it was that bad.

Credit: KGW8

Snowstorm Pacific Northwest: 2022

Seeing a blizzard in the Pacific Northwest isn’t that rare, yet seeing one that causes major disruptions doesn’t happen often. January 7th saw a whiteout that forced I-90 over the Snoqualmie Pass to shut down for four days. On top of that, avalanches occurred on the pass, and only freight vehicles could use the road when it opened up on the 9th.


Leave a Reply