That time Albany got almost 4 feet of snow during one storm

blizzard 1888 Pearl Street Albany

From the Blizzard of 1888: This photo was taken in Albany on Pearl Street, near Maiden Lane.

So this winter has been, for many people, something less than pleasant. And the ice/snow storm this week -- the second week of March -- is dragging out the frozen frustration. But it could be worse. A lot worse.

This same week 126 years ago, Albany and the rest of the Northeast were hit with The Great Blizzard of 1888. Also known as "The Great White Hurricane," the Nor'easter dumped many feet of snow through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Masschusetts.

From a National Weather Service-Albany recap of the storm's effects here:

The blizzard by which all others are measured. Light snow began around 3 PM on Sunday the 11th, accumulating to near 3" by midnight. The snow intensified overnight and there was 18" on the ground by daybreak on Monday the 12th. Moderate to heavy snow continued throughout the day accumulating to 33" by midnight. Snow continued on and off through Tuesday the 13th, adding roughly another foot, until finally ending around 3 AM on the 14th. Total snowfall for the storm was 46.7", but the drifts were significantly higher.
The city of Albany was virtually shut down. There were no coal deliveries, and thus, no heat. Doctors were unable to make house calls, and it took many days to clear the snow off of country roads to make them passable. At the time it was called the "worst storm in living memory," and it still holds the distinction of the worst winter storm on record in many areas of the northeast.

Those 46.7 inches of snow are the single-storm record for Albany, and not by a little bit. The storm with the next highest total -- March 13-14, 1993 -- piled up "just" 26.6 inches of snow.

Thanks almost entirely to that storm, Albany recorded more than 50 inches of snow in March of 1888. That was almost half the total for that entire winter -- which, at 110 inches, is the second snowiest on record.

By the way: As of the end of Wednesday, Albany was at 65.9 inches of snow for this winter -- that's about 14 inches more than the typical total by this point. [NWS]

photo: "27 N. Pearl, Blizzard of '88," from the Morris Gerber Collection via the Albany Institute of History and Art.

Comments

Wow, I remember the March 1993 storm, which included killer wind and drifting snow. A friend and I walked around the ESP and would duck behind buildings then pop out, only to get flattened by the wind. Visited about 10 bars that night.

Would love more pictures!

Reading this made me grateful that this winter just *feels* long and ridiculous and isn't *really* long and ridiculous. It's just easy to be tired of the snow when if feels like spring is around the corner. The worst I actually remember was 2002/2003 where we had back to back storms over Christmas and New Years with 20+ inches from each storm. After that, I felt like I could handle pretty much anything. Doesn't mean I won't whine a little even when we have less than 100 inches of snow for the season.

Bustles!

For more compelling photos of Albany, check out Don Rittner's books. You can buy them online or head over to Troy and pick them up at Clement Frame Shop.

http://www.amazon.com/Albany-Revisited-Images-America-York/dp/0738556521

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