10 notorious Thanksgiving storms that wreaked havoc
By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
Share this article:
The busiest travel week of the year also falls during a volatile time for extreme weather. While traveling and partaking in Thanksgiving festivities, be prepared and remember that severe weather can strike at anytime.
1898 - Infamous Portland storm
This storm claimed the lives of 200 people in 1898.
It formed off Cape Cod and hit the New England coast. Many people were lost at sea along with over 140 ships lost in the storm.
More than 2 feet of snow fell in Connecticut. The storm lasted more than 30 hours and packed coastal wind gusts of 100 mph. Boston received more than a foot of snow, and the harbor filled with shipwrecks.
1921 - New England's worst ice storm
This storm stands as one of the nation's worst ice storms in history.
It caused at least $10 million in damage. Adjusted for inflation, this storm would cost $121 million in 2016.
In the days after Thanksgiving, more than 3 inches of ice piled up and roughly 100,000 trees were uprooted or ruined. For more than three days, New England remained immobilized.
1926 - Thanksgiving Day tornado outbreak
A Thanksgiving Day swarm of tornadoes left a total of 64 dead in Arkansas. The tornadoes caused $630,000 in damages. That cost would be the equivalent to more than $8 million in 2016.
Fifty-three people died in Portland, Arkansas, and 11 died in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. A total of 58 people were injured.
4 weather conditions that can throw a wrench in iconic parades
5 tips to reduce food waste during Thanksgiving and other holiday meals
Experts share tips on ideal weather conditions for growing your perfect Christmas tree
1945 - Severe nor'easter disrupts Thanksgiving
Persistent winds averaged 40.5 mph for longer than a 24-hour period in Boston during a fierce storm in 1945.
Eventually rain changed to snow and 16 inches accumulated in parts of New England. Thirty-three deaths were attributed to the storm.
A nor'easter, which is a storm that forms along the East Coast, gets its name from the northeasterly winds that blow in from the ocean ahead of the storm.
1950 - The Great Appalachian Storm
This was a large cyclone, which brought the eastern United States to a standstill.
Significant winds, heavy rains, blizzard conditions and hurricane-force winds killed 353 and injured 160. The cyclone impacted 22 states, disrupted power to 1,000,000 customers and created $66.7 million in damage. In 2016, damage costs would be equivalent to $668 million.
Snowfall of 57 inches was measured in West Virginia. New Hampshire recorded a winds at 160 mph at Mount Washington. Nearly the entire state of Ohio was blanketed with 10 inches of snow, with the highest report of 44 inches.
This cyclone rapidly strengthened as it moved up the eastern side of the Appalachians. Coastal flooding occurred from New Jersey northward.
It initially formed in southeastern North Carolina on the morning of Nov. 24 and dissipated Nov. 30.
1971 - Snowfall blankets northeastern U.S.
The same coastal storm that brought over an inch of rain and peak wind gusts to 63 mph in New York City unleashed more than 2 feet of snow to parts of northeastern Pennsylvania.
Snowfall began the night before Thanksgiving. By about noon on Thanksgiving Day, more than 2 feet of snow was reported on the ground in parts of northeastern Pennsylvania. Some of the surrounding areas had upwards of 30 inches.
"Roads weren't plowed until the next afternoon. Everyone had to get around on snowmobiles," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Dombek said.
This was an extremely wet, heavy snow, as temperatures through much of the storm never got below 31 degrees Fahrenheit. The snowfall caused barn roofs to collapse, downed power lines and broke tree branches.
"The most amazing thing about that storm was that most of the snow fell within 12 hours. There were times when it was snowing at the rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour," Dombek said.
1982 - Hurricane Iwa disrupts Hawaii's Thanksgiving
Iwa hit the western Hawaiian Islands with peak winds of 86 mph with gusts of 105 mph. This was the first direct hit on the islands since 1959.
A total of $200 million in damage. Damage costs would be equivalent to more than $503 million in 2016.
There was major damage on the island of Kauai. The peak storm surge was 6-8 feet on the south shore of Kauai. No deaths were reported on the island.
1988 - Historic tornado twists from Raleigh to Jackson, North Carolina
An F4 tornado tracked 83 miles across North Carolina. Warnings were issued as the storm began sculpting a path through suburban north Raleigh.
The tornado killed four people, including two children in Raleigh, and injured over 157 people. Nearly 2,500 residences and over 75 businesses, including entire shopping centers, were demolished.
The tornado was spawned as a cluster of thunderstorms developed just before midnight on Nov. 27. This cluster of thunderstorms rapidly intensified as it moved across the state.
The trail of wreckage impacted thousands of lives across six North Carolina counties during Thanksgiving week.
1992 - 93 deadly tornadoes rip through Gulf Coast states
This event goes in the books as one of the largest tornado outbreaks in the U.S. during November. Conditions were right for 93 tornadoes to spawn around the Gulf Coast states.
Several of the tornadoes were rated F3. The string of tornadoes caused a total of 25 fatalities in Mississippi.
2010 - Tornado outbreak slams Deep South
Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama were plagued with tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms spawned 24 tornadoes across the lower Mississippi River Valley.
Fifteen were injured in Starkville, Mississippi, and hundreds of mobile homes were destroyed. Ninety-mph winds were recorded near Aberdeen, Mississippi.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - October 20, 2018, 7:55:39 PM EDT
A very sharp cold front sent damaging winds and snow through areas near Chicago, Illinois.
Weather News - October 20, 2018, 4:30:22 PM EDT
While rain will become much less widespread and generally subside over Texas into Sunday, the threat of more heavy rain and renewed flooding is not over for the Lone Star State.
Weather News - October 21, 2018, 1:45:13 AM EDT
With the northeastern United States facing gusty winds, plummeting temperatures and even snow this weekend, residents may be wondering how long the taste of winter will last.
Weather News - October 20, 2018, 3:12:25 PM EDT
Vicente and Willa, which is expected to become a major hurricane, will combine to bring a one-two tropical punch to southwestern and western Mexico next week.
Weather News - October 20, 2018, 12:04:41 PM EDT
One of the most famous meteor showers of the year is set to reach its peak this weekend as the Orionids will be visible in the night sky.
Weather News - October 19, 2018, 12:37:36 PM EDT
Homes were flooded and more than two dozen people had to be rescued from their cars as torrential rain triggered flooding in eastern Spain late this week.
Weather News - October 19, 2018, 1:33:57 PM EDT
Some of the most memorable World Series moments were weather-related.
Weather News - October 20, 2018, 7:32:06 PM EDT
Locally gusty winds will contribute to an elevated risk of wildfire ignition and spread across parts of Southern California through Saturday.