WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)

25th Anniversary of the Storm of the Century

By Jesse Ferrell
3/12/2018, 5:40:39 PM

This week is the 25th anniversary of the Blizzard of 1993, also known as "The Storm of the Century" and the "1993 Superstorm." I was in college in North Carolina at the time and was able to experience the storm. Five years ago, I scanned in all my photos and audio tapes from the storm for an all-encompassing, multimedia blog entry you can refer to. This year, I'd like to pull out some stats & quotes from the storm to add to my Twitter & Facebook channels, and echo those here.

Blizzard of 1993


- The lowest pressure analyzed by meteorologists from the storm was 960 mb (see surface chart zoom below, U.S. chart at this link and also a loop here), slightly higher than what was forecast -- and the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale (at the time).

Blizzard of 1993 - Peak Intensity Surface Chart - Close Up

According to weather historian Chris Burt, at least three cities in the East set record low pressures that still stand to this day, never surpassed by any other storm, even hurricanes:

- Asheville, NC: 28.89"
- Washington, D.C.: 28.54"
- Richmond, VA: 28.54"
- Newark, NJ: 28.45" & Philadelphia, PA: 28.43" (later broken by Hurricane Sandy in 2012)

- Snow amounts in the Tennessee mountains topped out at 60 inches (5 feet), with 50 inches in North Carolina.


"[This is] the storm... not of the century... in the history of man-kind (at least as we know it)... the most powerful storm to ever affect the East Coast of the United States. Our central Pressure here in North Carolina at 12:50 this afternoon was lower than Hurricane Hugo produced as the eye of Hugo moved right over Charlotte."
-- Eric Thomas, meteorologist for WBTV Charlotte, NC, March 13, 1993

"When the model first predicted the storm, meteorologists... said it must be some sort of error in the computer model."
-- Me, March 12, 1993 (Listen)


Why isn't there a radar loop from the Blizzard of 1993? U.S. radar composites before 1995 only existed digitally as very coarse resolution (as shown below courtesy WW2010) and as paper DIFAX charts which are not available on the Internet.

Radar data from individual radar sites is available, although there weren't nearly as many of them 25 years ago. One example of the squall line moving through Florida is shown on my previous blog. I'll see if I can dig up some more.

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WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)