No. 1: New Year Blizzards

As the new year rolled in, a series of snowstorms buried the mid-Atlantic states and Midwest in a thick blanket of snow and ice. Records were broken in New York City, Tulsa, and Dallas. These dramatic storms brought extremes all across North America, from Canada to northern Mexico.

The mid-Atlantic, January 25-27:

  • 19 inches of snow fell in New York City, helping to make January the city’s second snowiest month on record with 36 inches.
  • Cleanup costs in Philadelphia from this storm are estimated at $6 million.
  • Washington, D.C., suffered power outages and tough commutes, leaving some stuck in gridlock for 13 hours.
  • Major travel delays occurred along the eastern seaboard, including a Metro-North train that was derailed in New Canaan, Conn. (No injuries were reported.)
  • Two fatalities were reported.

Even though Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, the following snowstorm, which has been dubbed “The Great Groundhog Day Blizzard,” left his followers rightfully skeptical. The early February blizzard was one of the most extreme on record.

The Midwest, February 1-3:

  • Chicago was under 20.2 inches of snow in blizzard conditions with 60 mph winds, the third largest snowfall in its history.
  • Icy conditions lead to hazardous roads, power outages, and travel disruptions as Amtrak services were stopped and 1,100 flights were canceled at O’Hare.
  • Trucks towed six lots full of abandoned cars from Lake Shore Drive in Chicago to be found and claimed by owners after the storm let up.
  • Widespread blizzard conditions reached St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, Oklahoma City, and New York City.
  • Snowstorms traveled as far south as Albuquerque and Dallas.
  • Temperatures in northern Mexico dropped below zero degrees Fahrenheit, causing havoc in unsuspecting remote communities.
  • Tulsa broke its all-time record for February snowfall with 14 inches.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth schools were out for a record-setting five days straight.
  • Thirty-six people were killed in events related to the storm.
  • Damages from the storm are estimated at close to $4 billion.

Becky Uline is an editor and musician living in San Francisco, where she enjoys digging into Yahoo! data as a sidekick to trend-finding sleuth Vera H-C Chan. Most of her writing is of the musical variety for her band, the Northerlies.