Do You Remember...The Storm Of The Century?
Hard to believe that it's been 25 years since the 1993 Storm of the Century impacted the eastern third of the United States. Record snowfall, severe weather, and coastal flooding were the greatest impacts with the storm. Low pressure developed in the Gulf of Mexico on March 12th and quickly deepened as it expanded northward. At its height, the storm stretched from eastern Canada to Honduras in Central America! The storm finally dissipated over the North Atlantic on March 15. It reached a minimum low presure of 960 millibars and resulted in over $2 billion in damages (in 1993).
Winter was well represented with the Storm of the Century. Accumulations of 3 - 4 feet of snow were common along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains with Mt. Leconte in Tennessee receiving about 5 feet of snow. Some other locations included Pittsburgh with about 25 inches of snow, Syracuse, NY received over 40 inches of snow, 13 inches in Birmingham, AL and about 4 inches of snow on the Florida Panhandle. Baltimore, New York City, and Boston all received about a foot of snow before changing to rain. The widespread nature of snow accumulation, as well as how much snow fell, resulted in the storm receiving a ranking of "Category 5" or "Extreme" on the NESIS scale. The only other storm to receive that ranking so far has been the Blizzard of 1996.
While the impressive snowfall was the big story, parts of Florida had to deal with severe weather. A potent squall line impacted the west coast of Florida shortly after Midnight on March 13th. The squall line produced wind gusts over 100 mph along with 11 tornadoes. Also, there was a significant storm surge from Apalachee Bay to Tampa Bay. About 18,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in Florida due to the severe weather. Things were even rough across the Gulf of Mexico as the system produced very rough seas. The Coast Guard needed to rescue 235 people from over 100 boats as the systme moved through.
Over 10 million households lost power due to the storm and an estimated 40% of the country's population experienced the effects of the storm. Unfortunately, 318 people were killed. Overall, this was one of the most powerful and impactful storms we've seen in modern history. Do you remember it?