An Analysis of the “Blizzard of '88”

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  • 1 Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. 20771
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A collection of detailed surface weather observations is used to construct an analysis of the legendary “Blizzard of '88,” an intense cyclone that was accompanied by unusually heavy snowfall, high winds and cold temperatures across the northeastern United States from 11 to 14 March 1888. The analysis follows the cyclone from genesis along a slow-moving frontal system, through rapid development and occlusion along the Middle Atlantic and southern New England coasts. Unusual aspects of the cyclone are highlighted. These include the limited areal extent of heavy snow accumulations, the establishment of very cold air across western New England and the Middle Atlantic states, a persistent stationary frontal zone across central New England that separated frigid continental air from maritime air, and the slow movement and rapid warming associated with the decay of the storm.

A collection of detailed surface weather observations is used to construct an analysis of the legendary “Blizzard of '88,” an intense cyclone that was accompanied by unusually heavy snowfall, high winds and cold temperatures across the northeastern United States from 11 to 14 March 1888. The analysis follows the cyclone from genesis along a slow-moving frontal system, through rapid development and occlusion along the Middle Atlantic and southern New England coasts. Unusual aspects of the cyclone are highlighted. These include the limited areal extent of heavy snow accumulations, the establishment of very cold air across western New England and the Middle Atlantic states, a persistent stationary frontal zone across central New England that separated frigid continental air from maritime air, and the slow movement and rapid warming associated with the decay of the storm.

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