Think Snow

Yes, we have been getting quite a bit of snow lately. Imagine clearing it away without snow blowers and pretreatment on the roads.

Here are a few highlights.  To learn of other historic weather events, see Dates of Disasters in Connecticut


The Blizzard of 1888, also known as the “Great White Hurricane,” lasted for three days, from March 12-14. The blizzard buried an unprepared Northeast in up to 50 inches of snow. The precipitation was accompanied by winds reaching 60 mph that piled snow drifts up to 38 feet tall. Horse cars, stagecoaches, and trains came to a halt, making the delivery of food and fuel difficult. Most communication by telegraph was disrupted by downed lines across the region and cities like New York, Boston, and Hartford were unaware of events around them. The blizzard left more than 400 people dead and caused upwards of 20 million dollars worth of property damage. The resulting cleanup effort was accomplished by plows drawn by horses and oxen or more often by shovel.

The Connecticut State Library has digitizated the Blizzard of 1888 photographs (PG 448), which is now available in its digital collections, Flickr site, and Historypin channel. The collection consists of 72 photographs taken of Hartford and its immediate surroundings both during and after the blizzard. The photographs are almost exclusively albumen prints taken by photographers E.P. Kellogg, R.C. Buell, William B. Lloyd, and William H. Lockwood. Lockwood compiled 37 photographs into a book entitled, “The Great Snow Storm,” which he donated to the Connecticut State Library in 1916.


Governor Ella Grasso was in office during the February Blizzard of 1978. Grasso’s popularity soared in February of 1978 when a huge blizzard hit Connecticut, paralyzing the state for days. Grasso went to the State Armory and took a personal interest in operations to help the citizens of Connecticut recover from the effects of the killer storm. The public now believed that it had not just a politician but a pro-active, caring, compassionate woman as governor.

Map of snowfall from NOAA
Map of snowfall from NOAA


I remember the snow was so deep, my younger sister and I couldn’t walk out of our apartment in New Haven.  With the snow almost to our waists, we rolled ourselves out of the complex to the road.