Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Blizzard of '47

Gibson LIRR Station, December 27, 1947
Sixty years ago this month, The New York Times headlines read "CITY IS MASTERING RECORD SNOW; BUSES STILL OUT, RAIL LINES GAIN; SUBURBS HARD HIT; 55 DEAD IN EAST".

A major snowstorm hit New York on Friday, December 26, 1947, crippling the metropolitan area for days and eclipsing the "Blizzard of '88". On March 11, 1888, 16.5 inches of snow fell in a 24-hour period, setting a record, and by the time the storm ended, there were 20.9 inches of snow and drifts of up to fifteen feet.

The 1888 mark was surpassed in the first twelve hours of the 1947 storm, and the final total was 26.4 inches. At times, three to four inches fell in an hour in a surprisingly windless sky. In Westchester County, reports the Times, sled caravans in long, winding columns, became the only way that families could shop for food. The roads and public transportation were not available for several days in the pre-Peapod era.

The record remained intact until February 12, 2006, when Central Park recorded a total of almost 27 inches.

The accompanying photo, taken by Max Hubacher, shows the Gibson LIRR station, two days after the storm.
Further information (may require login to Proquest databases)
"Blizzard of '47", The New York Times, December 28, 1947, p. 1.
"Record snowfall buries New York City",, February 12, 2006.
"New York City buried under record Snowfall...", Wall Street Journal, December 27, 1947, p. 2.

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