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11.I.C

New York City (NYC)
The Blizzard of 1996

 
 
Blizzard of 1996
Photo Credit: New York Public Library
 
     
 

The blizzard of 1996 was one of the most severe to ever hit NYC, falling only an inch of snow behind the Great Blizzard of 1888. It dropped 20 inches of snow, had wind gusts of 50 mph and snow drifts up to 8 feet high. A combination of hot and cold air coming from the Gulf of Mexico and Canada allowed this powerful snowstorm to develop; it hit NYC on the morning of January 6 and lasted for 37 hours, dropping on average 2 inches of snow per hour. Residents were told to stay home and await the passing of the storm; only police, fire department and hospital personnel reported to work. Schools and offices were vacant, Broadway plays were canceled and the New York Stock Exchange closed early in the day. As the storm became more intense, traffic came to halt and many people were stranded mid-way to their destinations. Airports, bus terminals and highway rest stops were filled with wary and frustrated travelers. By evening, grocery stores looked as empty and foreboding as the ones in post-apocalyptic movies.

In the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, Con Edison reported a power outage for 1500 customers, although services would be restored by following night. Damages from Washington to Boston were estimated at billion dollars and casualties from Kentucky to Connecticut totaled to about a hundred. The homeless of NYC were the ones who suffered the most. Despite the City's extensive efforts to relocate the homeless to safety, it was impossible to find adequate shelter for everyone; only 7200 beds were occupied in 39 shelters around NYC.

 
     
 
Visit Additional NYC Blizzards:
Great Blizzard of 1888
1947
2006
2010
Blizzards Defined


Return to Disaster Section
 
     
     
 
Sources:
nytimes.com-blizzard_1996
capitalcentury.com-1996_biggest_blizzard
nyc.gov-hazards/winter_history