New Yorkers Have Seen Blizzards Before

The Big Apple Deals with Big Storms

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First Person: New Yorkers Prepare for Blizzard
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On the streets in a New York blizzard

New York City and its environs remain under blizzard warnings as the nor'easter that the Weather Channel has named Nemo bears down on the city. New Yorkers are not strangers to winter weather and they have survived a number of historic storms. From colonial times to the present, the city that never sleeps has coped with wind, snow and cold with losing a step.

The Great Snow of 1717

Colonial New York City was a small town, smaller than Boston or Philadelphia. At the end of February 1717, the northeast and New York experienced a series of winter storms which came to be called "the great snow." For nine days, it snowed and the wind blew. The New Yorker quotes a report from the time of 1,100 sheep buried by the snow on Long Island. The Reinbeck Courier reports that the region received five feet of snow between Feb. 27 and March 7. In some parts of New England, snow was 15 feet deep and drifts were over 25 feet.

The Blizzard of 1888

March 12-14 saw New York City and state experience a fierce and deadly blizzard. An account of the storm and its effects in Harriman, in rural upstate New York, can be found at the Monroe County Historical Society. A famous Republican politician, Roscoe Conkling, is said to have become stuck in a drift in Union Square in New York City, and later died from his exertions. The New York Historical Society says that he was just one of some 400 deaths due to the storm. The Buffalo News described the sad death of 17-year-old Sara Wilson. Her train between Buffalo and Albany became stuck and the passengers chose to walk the two miles to the next station. Wilson was found dead some days later, buried in a snow drift. Albany received four feet of snow and New York City received 21 inches from the storm.

The Big Snow of 1925

Jan. 29-30, 1925, saw upstate New York receive three feet of snow while 30 mph winds whipped it into drifts. From Utica north to the Canadian border and west along Lake Ontario the snow halted train travel and buried towns.

The Blizzard of 1947

New York City includes this storm in its list of the top winter storms to hit the city. It dropped 26.4 inches of snow and took the lives of 77. One of the most curious facts about this storm, as Time reports, is that it almost exclusively struck New York City. HNN describes the storm: "Manhattan received 26.1 inches; both the Bronx and Staten Island had 25; 27.2 in Brooklyn; 24.6 in Queens. Very little snow from this system fell anywhere else; in fact, it was reported in the Times on April 9, 1948 that the rest of the New England coast received less than 10 inches."

The nor'easter and blizzard that New York will experience this weekend may rival some of these great storms of the past. Those severe winter storms have come and gone. New Yorkers will cope with Nemo and the storms that will most certainly occur in the future.

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