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Thanksgiving 1971 Snowstorm - Eastern US Weather Forums

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Thanksgiving 1971 Snowstorm


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#1 Logan11

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 07:52 PM

Everybody keeps talking about the Thanksgiving 1989 storm, but the one that will always stand out in my mind was Thanksgiving 1971. I was very small, but remember it well. We received 2 feet of snow. I believe it was an interior event only, but not just the mountains.

I would be interested in seeing maps of that storm.


From Joe D'Aleo's page:

November 25, 1971

A big Thanksgiving storm dumped 1 to 2 feet of snow over the interior sections of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Wilkes-Barre Scranton had 20.5 inches to set a new 24-hour record. Albany, New York received 22.5 inches for a new November and early season record and the 5th heaviest on record. Cobleskill, New York had a storm total of 26 inches.

I believe we had another big snow the following T-day - 1972. After that the 70s were not great for snowy winters...until we hit about 1977.

#2 Ytterbium.

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 08:02 PM

Sorry, but neither of those come close to the #8 greatest storm of the 20th century - the Great Appalachian Snowstorm of November 25-27, 1950.

http://www.weather.com/newscenter/specialr...orm8/page1.html

November 1950. As families gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving, one of the country's most intense and unusual winter storms waited in the wings.

In the days that followed, one of the greatest windstorms on record would batter the Northeast, record cold would shiver much of the central United States and the South, and a major blizzard would bury the states along the Appalachian Mountains with up to five feet of snow.

Today, this "Appalachian Storm" remains the greatest snowstorm on record for the western Appalachians.

The storm's heaviest snowfall began falling on November 25, 1950 and lasted until November 27. Blizzard-like conditions made travel impossible; streets were clogged with several feet of snow.

Nearly 30 inches of snow blanketed Pittsburgh; almost two feet covered Cleveland. West Virginia, western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio all saw snowfall totals greater than 30 inches.

Dayton, Ohio received "only" 11.2 inches of snowfall a stark comparison to the 30, 40, even 50 inches that fell elsewhere.

But combined with high winds and bone-chilling temperatures dropping to near 10 degrees, it was the worst blizzard ever to strike the city.

Perhaps most noteworthy about the "Appalachian Storm" was its unprecedented mix of extreme atmospheric elements.

The combination of record cold, record snowfall, high winds and a contortion of cold air moving north and warm air moving south had rarely been observed before in the eastern United States. Snow, torrential rains and violent winds wreaked havoc over many states.

The November 1950 storm had the greatest contrast of weather elements found in probably any storm, including the 1993 March Superstorm," said Paul Kocin, Winter Weather Expert at The Weather Channel.

"Try to comprehend that at the same time Buffalo, New York, was experiencing heavy rains, winds gusting to over 50 mph and temperatures in the 50s, Pittsburgh, Pa., located some 200 miles to its south, was coping with blizzard conditions with temperatures falling into the single numbers and heavy snow falling on southerly winds."

The storm developed in North Carolina, moved north into Pennsylvania and then northwest over Lake Erie before it began to loop west, then south, then east over the state of Ohio.

"It was crazy," said Kocin.

As the storm slammed into the Appalachians, it whipped up hurricane force winds from the eastern slopes of the Appalachians to New England.

Meteorologists say this may have been the most widespread windstorm ever to occur in the Northeast. New York City clocked a peak wind gust of 94 mph. Easterly gale winds in New England rivaled nearly every hurricane that ever threatened the region.

As if adding insult to injury, the ferocious winds coincided with high tide, producing destructive coastal flooding. Wind-driven tides pounded the New Jersey, Long Island and New England coasts.

In addition to breaking snowfall records, the storm was preceded and accompanied by some of the coldest November temperatures on record for portions of the Southeast and Midwest.

Zero-degree temperatures chilled central Tennessee and northern Georgia. The mercury at Mount Mitchell, N.C., plummeted to 26 degrees below zero and that's not counting the wind chill factor.

The Appalachian Storm killed 160 people.

After the snow melted and the flooding subsided, the great Appalachian Storm of 1950 offered meteorologists a variety of new data to improve forecasting.

They used the storm as a test case for some of the first numerical experiments to predict the large-scale circulation associated with a mid-latitude extra-tropical cyclone.

"They picked a doozy for the original," said Paul Kocin, Winter Weather Expert at The Weather Channel, regarding the experiment.

While the results of these early experiments pale in comparison to today's more sophisticated techniques, the success in simulating the storm's general low-level and upper-level features formed the foundation for future mainstream weather models.

#3 Catskills

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 08:06 PM

Wow!

#4 weathafella

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 08:21 PM

Hey Rick...I remember well the 1971 Thanksgiving storm. I was in my 3rd year of school and the day before Thanksgiving I was assigned in the clinic all day. When I went in with sleight gray overcast the temps at BOS were in the low 20s. After a clinic day, I was excited to start my treck to NYC where I was going to enjoy a family Thanksgiving ostensibly in the snow. As soon as I walked outside, I could feel the mild easterly wind....temps by now were in the upper 30s....we were cooked. But I remember Albany getting buried.

#5 Fullmug

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 01:14 AM

Great Storm.

Began mid morning the Weds before Thanksgiving. I was in 5th grade and school was running on that 'its almost a holiday so we're not gonna do much of anything today' mode so everyone in the class room spend the day crowded around the windows watching it fall.

Remains the biggest holiday snow I've experienced. There's something added to the Holidays when a snowstorm of some significance hits right before or during.

#6 WEATHER53

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 01:17 AM

We were packed and ready to leave for a trip to Elk mountain. The people we were to stay with called us and said they had been crawling up there for hours and advised us not to come. We did not, I was so mad at my father but it was the right decision.

#7 Rib

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 01:18 AM

View PostEnigma, on Nov 15 2005, 08:02 PM, said:

Sorry, but neither of those come close to the #8 greatest storm of the 20th century - the Great Appalachian Snowstorm of November 25-27, 1950.

http://www.weather.com/newscenter/specialr...orm8/page1.html

November 1950. As families gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving, one of the country's most intense and unusual winter storms waited in the wings.

In the days that followed, one of the greatest windstorms on record would batter the Northeast, record cold would shiver much of the central United States and the South, and a major blizzard would bury the states along the Appalachian Mountains with up to five feet of snow.

Today, this "Appalachian Storm" remains the greatest snowstorm on record for the western Appalachians.

The storm's heaviest snowfall began falling on November 25, 1950 and lasted until November 27. Blizzard-like conditions made travel impossible; streets were clogged with several feet of snow.

Nearly 30 inches of snow blanketed Pittsburgh; almost two feet covered Cleveland. West Virginia, western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio all saw snowfall totals greater than 30 inches.

Dayton, Ohio received "only" 11.2 inches of snowfall a stark comparison to the 30, 40, even 50 inches that fell elsewhere.

But combined with high winds and bone-chilling temperatures dropping to near 10 degrees, it was the worst blizzard ever to strike the city.

Perhaps most noteworthy about the "Appalachian Storm" was its unprecedented mix of extreme atmospheric elements.

The combination of record cold, record snowfall, high winds and a contortion of cold air moving north and warm air moving south had rarely been observed before in the eastern United States. Snow, torrential rains and violent winds wreaked havoc over many states.

The November 1950 storm had the greatest contrast of weather elements found in probably any storm, including the 1993 March Superstorm," said Paul Kocin, Winter Weather Expert at The Weather Channel.

"Try to comprehend that at the same time Buffalo, New York, was experiencing heavy rains, winds gusting to over 50 mph and temperatures in the 50s, Pittsburgh, Pa., located some 200 miles to its south, was coping with blizzard conditions with temperatures falling into the single numbers and heavy snow falling on southerly winds."

The storm developed in North Carolina, moved north into Pennsylvania and then northwest over Lake Erie before it began to loop west, then south, then east over the state of Ohio.

"It was crazy," said Kocin.

As the storm slammed into the Appalachians, it whipped up hurricane force winds from the eastern slopes of the Appalachians to New England.

Meteorologists say this may have been the most widespread windstorm ever to occur in the Northeast. New York City clocked a peak wind gust of 94 mph. Easterly gale winds in New England rivaled nearly every hurricane that ever threatened the region.

As if adding insult to injury, the ferocious winds coincided with high tide, producing destructive coastal flooding. Wind-driven tides pounded the New Jersey, Long Island and New England coasts.

In addition to breaking snowfall records, the storm was preceded and accompanied by some of the coldest November temperatures on record for portions of the Southeast and Midwest.

Zero-degree temperatures chilled central Tennessee and northern Georgia. The mercury at Mount Mitchell, N.C., plummeted to 26 degrees below zero and that's not counting the wind chill factor.

The Appalachian Storm killed 160 people.

After the snow melted and the flooding subsided, the great Appalachian Storm of 1950 offered meteorologists a variety of new data to improve forecasting.

They used the storm as a test case for some of the first numerical experiments to predict the large-scale circulation associated with a mid-latitude extra-tropical cyclone.

"They picked a doozy for the original," said Paul Kocin, Winter Weather Expert at The Weather Channel, regarding the experiment.

While the results of these early experiments pale in comparison to today's more sophisticated techniques, the success in simulating the storm's general low-level and upper-level features formed the foundation for future mainstream weather models.

Probably the most unknown triple phaser from 1950 on.

#8 Logan11

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 01:20 AM

Interesting comments Jerry and Fullmug. It sounds like it developed fairly far down the coast then and ran right up..hugging the shoreline.

View PostFullmug, on Nov 16 2005, 01:14 AM, said:

Great Storm.

Began mid morning the Weds before Thanksgiving. I was in 5th grade and school was running on that 'its almost a holiday so we're not gonna do much of anything today' mode so everyone in the class room spend the day crowded around the windows watching it fall.

Remains the biggest holiday snow I've experienced. There's something added to the Holidays when a snowstorm of some significance hits right before or during.


#9 WEATHER53

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 01:23 AM

Of everything presented at the conference this was the mot interesting to me, Paul K even broke the micro climo temp varationss down even further and as the storm moved 50 miles in another direction then someplace that had been in the 50s's plunged into the 20's. I had heard little about this storm over the years but it really is the most bizarre and intense combo ever. Mr K., how about a few more details like you gave us at the conference?

#10 Logan11

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 01:24 AM

I guess Fullmug was talking about '71. Jerry and I were.

1950 sounds incredible though...I'd guess that was rain here though.

View PostLogan11, on Nov 16 2005, 01:20 AM, said:

Interesting comments Jerry and Fullmug. It sounds like it developed fairly far down the coast then and ran right up..hugging the shoreline.


#11 Fullmug

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 02:32 AM

View PostLogan11, on Nov 16 2005, 01:24 AM, said:

I guess Fullmug was talking about '71. Jerry and I were.

1950 sounds incredible though...I'd guess that was rain here though.


Yes, 1971. I should have been more clear.

The Kocen - Uccellini book shows the '71 storm had snow totals of 8-9 inches all the way to the western VA/NC border. Large area of double digit accumulations starting in NW VA and exceeding 2 feet in NE PA and through east central NY. Heavy snow fell within 30 miles of the Atlantic coastline.

The KU listing is not among the 32 selected storms studied extensivly in volume II, but it is listed among the 'near miss' events. Near Miss in this instance referring to still could have happened with the prospects of the event.

Nothing near miss about 1950. Ground zero was West Virginia and roughly a quarter of the state had 40 inches of snow or greater. Half the state was covered by 30 inches of more. As was the western 5th of PA.

Remarkable piece of winter weather . . .or weather of any kind.





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