Published On: Feb 07 2013 11:39:34 AM ESTUpdated On: Dec 27 2014 03:13:27 PM EST
The National Weather Service is using terms like "life-threatening" and "historic" to describe the weather system taking aim at the Northeast. Check out some of the other major blizzards in U.S. history.
March 11-14, 1888: It's been called the "Great White Hurricane," and for good reason. This blizzard caused more than 400 deaths, 200 in New York City alone, and blanketed much of the East Coast with snow that drifted up to 50 feet high.
February 1899: The American South didn't know what hit it when this storm came through, bringing record-low temperatures from Florida to Georgia and icing over the Port of New Orleans. The area around Washington, D.C., experienced 51 straight hours of snowfall.
November 1913: Considered the most devastating blizzard to hit the Great Lakes, this storm raged for nearly five days with hurricane-force winds of up to 62 mph and waves that reached up to 35 feet in height. More than 235 people were killed and 18 ships wrecked.
January 27-28, 1922: The "Knickerbocker Storm" battered the upper South and middle Atlantic United States for two days, dumping a record-breaking 28 inches of snow on Washington, D.C. The resulting collapse of the Knickerbocker Theatre in Washington killed 98 people and injured 133.
Nov. 11, 1940: Nearly 150 deaths were blamed on the Armistice Day Blizzard, which left a path of devastation 1,000 miles wide through the country and generated snowdrifts up to 20 feet tall. It followed an unseasonably warm morning and went largely undetected by meteorologists.
Dec. 26-27, 1947: For more than half a decade, the blizzard of 1947 reigned as New York City's biggest snowstorm. More than two feet of snow fell in Central Park, shutting down the subway system and completely paralyzing the entire city.
Feb. 1-8, 1956: Travel came to a complete stop in the Southern Plains when this blizzard hit, dumping up to 43 inches of snow in parts of western Oklahoma and Texas. Some areas saw snow accumulating for up to 92 hours. Hundreds of cattle died, and feed for the remaining animals had to be airlifted in.
Jan. 25-26, 1967: One of the biggest snowstorms on record in the Midwest and Chicago's heaviest snowfall in a 24-hour period, this blizzard hit after a rare January tornado outbreak. Seventy-six people died, most in the Chicago area, and winds of up to 50 mph created drifts as high as 15 feet tall.
Feb. 5-7, 1978: The Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst Nor'easters in New England history, hits the region with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall at the rate of four inches an hour. Boston would receive a record 27.1 inches of snow, while Providence, R.I., also broke a record with 27.6 inches. The storm was blamed for about 100 deaths and 4,500 injuries in the region while also causing more than $520 million in damages.
Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 1991: The "Halloween Blizzard" began while children in the Upper Midwest were trick-or-treating and dumped an all-time record accumulation of 36.9 inches of snow in Duluth, Minn. In Iowa, ice shut down Interstate 35 and left 80,000 homes without power.
March 12-15, 1993: Causing 300 deaths and up to $10 billion in damages, the "Storm of the Century" lived up to its hype. The storm affected at least 26 states and much of eastern Canada, reaching as far south as Jacksonville, Fla. On the Atlantic seaboard, more than 15 homes were swept out to sea by mammoth swells stirred up by hurricane-force winds.
Jan. 6-10, 1996: This Nor'easter pummeled numerous states including Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Up to four feet of snow fell in parts of West Virginia, and Philadelphia recorded its greatest snowfall total on record with 30.7 inches. Sixty fatalities were reported.
February 2010: The new decade roared in like a lion in many parts of the nation, with not one but three blizzards reported within a span of 20 days. The first piled record amounts of snow in the Mid-Atlantic states, the second produced high winds and heavy snow from Washington, D.C., to Boston, and the third struck the Northeast again, leaving hundreds without power.
Dec. 26-27, 2010: This post-holiday blizzard stranded thousands of travelers and featured a rare meteorological event known as thundersnow, when thunder and lightning are accompanied by heavy snow rather than rain. Snowfall was deepest in Rahway, N.J., which had to dig out from under 32 inches of snow.
Feb. 1-2, 2011: Also known as the "Groundhog Day Blizzard," this storm dumped up to two feet of snow in parts of Chicago, shutting down the city's famed Lake Shore Drive. Record snow totals were reported in Boston and Baltimore, and Blackhawk helicopters and Humvees had to be brought in to rescue motorists stranded on closed interstates. Damages exceeded $1 billion.