The looming storm

Notes from the North Woods

Despite recent temperature variations that have kept local thermometers bouncing around like a pogo stick, the winter of 2012-13 has been rather blah.

Snow cover has come and gone, and come back again. Snow depths have been adequate for skiing the backcountry and after a short spell of slushy conditions, ice cover has remained pretty consistent.

Fortunately, the region was largely spared by the recent winter storm that ravaged the coast of New England, however, there is plenty of time left, in that regard.

Prior to the turn of the millennium, the truly severe weather events hit the Adirondack region only about twice a century. A few of those record setting events included The Great Windfall of 1845, The Great Floods of 1858, The Blizzard of 1888, and The Big Blow of 1950.

However, the frequency of intense weather events began to accelerate after a crippling blizzard struck the northeast in December of 1964. That event was followed soon after by another big storm that pounded the region in December of 1969.

Those initial storms provided a forewarning of a frequency that was soon to follow, and soon in November of 1971, a massive Thanksgiving Snowstorm effectively crippled the entire state. The next monster storm to pound the northeast arrived in February of 1978, and yet another hard storm arrived on February 13,1980. Fortunately, the fierce February storm of 1980 delivered enough of the necessary white stuff for the snowless community of Lake Placid to host competitions during the XIII Winter Olympic Games.

In following years, major snowstorms began pummeling the northeast with increased frequency, and a number of record setting foul-weather events occurred over the next decade with blizzards in January 1983, October, 1987 and December 1992. In March of 1993, the first Superstorm arrived, and it was packing powerful, hurricane force winds. Labeled as the ‘Storm of the Century,’ the raging blizzard was responsible for over 30 deaths and left over 2.5 million people without power for weeks. The massive storm paralyzed the entire east coast with floods in the south, and blizzard conditions throughout the northeast, but after it finally ended, there was another long lull before any similarly wayward storms occurred.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment