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The Day After the Storm and a Look Back at the Great Blizzard of 1888

Some interesting facts about the Storm of 1888.

The morning after a snowstorm for some is like the day after Christmas, the remnants of the day before are everywhere, but the excitement is gone, it is a clean up day.

Most likely the cars are shoveled out and now ice patches appear from the melting and freezing of the snow plowed away. Driveways and roads are now all single lanes, with hockey sideboards.

It you found the pristine snow beautiful, today you see the menace and downside to a foot of snow.

I did some research and found perhaps the worse snowstorm of the last 150 years. The Storm of 1888 was totally unbelievable. This nor’easter storm happened March 12, 1888, and reportedly dumped 40 to 50 inches of snow from Maryland to Massachusetts, and more than 20 inches in Vermont and northward into Canada. The report is that it snowed blizzard-like for 36 hours with the winds in many places gusting up to 80 mph, making snowdrifts that actually buried three-story homes. The tallest recorded snowdrift was reportedly 52 feet, recorded in Gravesend, New York.

People were trapped inside homes for a week. And the snow plows? There were none! No big garbage truck with plows; no, they wouldn’t be invented for another 25 years. The temperature went from like 55 degrees Fahrenheit to all of 6 through 9 degrees Fahrenheit, dropping almost 50 degrees within a few hours and then stayed that cold with the average wind being over 40 mph for 36 hours.

Not sure how the East End of Long Island fared afterward, but since there were no telephones there were no angry calls to LIPA, or town halls. However, I must report, “telegraph service,” was disrupted for a weeks, as was the then all-important Rail service which at the time consisted of hundreds of Independent companies.

Another name for this storm is “The Great White Hurricane.” So as you get ready to get ready for Monday, think back to the enormity these folks had to deal with. And remember the horses they used back then to “drive around” did not come with, heaters, defrosters, windshields, CD players, adjustable seats, and coffee cup holders.

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bchbum11968 February 10, 2013 at 06:05 PM
So true:)
Darren Gengarelly Sr. February 10, 2013 at 10:50 PM
I lived out in Clearwater on Renfrew Ln for that storm. It hit the far east end the worst. We measured 32' on the deck off the kitchen. I believe Montauk got 36-40 yet Sag Harbor got like 24' andHampton Bays only got like 4'. Back then i think people had more patience and understood they may be snowed in a while. I do remember snow plows available and allocated for emergencies. It was just different. People were more pro-active and less re-active. And my phone and power were fine throughout. My uncle came over from Amagansett and plowed me out to 3mile harbor rd.

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