Storm of The Century: The Blizzard of ’93

On March 12, 1993, North America's East Coast was rocked by a blizzard many have called the "Storm of the Century." We take a look back.

In March of 1993, President Bill Clinton had just been inaugurated to his first term of office, rapper Snow’s reggae-inspired song Informer was at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and the eastern half of the United States and Canada was in the grip of “the Storm of the Century,” one of the worst winter storms of the 20th Century.

Storm of the Century

The Blizzard of ’93, also known as the “Superstorm” and the “Storm of the Century” (although other storms also lay claim to the latter title), formed over the Gulf of Mexico on March 12 and pounded the East Coast, from Florida to Canada and as far west as the Dakotas, for the next three days, bringing hurricane force winds of up to 110 miles per hour and dropping as much as 69 inches of snow in some areas. Even Florida, which rarely sees even a dusting of snow, received four inches during the storm, while parts of Alabama reported as much as 16 inches.

Computer models had predicted the storm a few weeks before it hit, but the amount of precipitation forecast was so extreme, many meteorologists refused to believe the models could be accurate until they were proven to be true.

Lots and Lots of Snow

In the days leading up to the storm, temperatures across North America dropped as an arctic high-pressure front moved down over the Great Lakes. At the same time, an area of low pressure moved up along the Eastern seaboard from the Gulf of Mexico, colliding with the cold front over the East Coast and Midwest.

The resultant storm covered 26 states and most of Canada, bringing thundersnow and whiteout conditions. Hundreds of airports closed, and highway travel was restricted throughout the region, stranding countless travelers. Parts of the Appalachian Mountain region saw more than three and a half feet of snow, with 35-foot drifts in some areas. Farther north, New England and Eastern Canada got anywhere from 15 inches to two feet of snow. Throughout the path of the storm, trees were uprooted from the weight of snow.

Though southern states saw less snow than their northern neighbors, these areas were hit hardest by damage because they don’t have the infrastructure to deal with heavy snow. Southern cities were shut down for days, as residents waited out the clean-up efforts, and many buildings collapsed under the weight of the snow. In addition, southerners were unprepared to deal with extremely cold temperatures, as low as 0° F in some parts of the south. Other areas saw temperatures as low as -12° F.

The Storm Aftermath

In all, the storm caused nearly $7 billion in damage and claimed 310 lives, earning its title as a “Storm of the Century.”

Do you remember the Blizzard of ’93? Share your memories below!

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Jaime McLeod

Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.


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Chris Carnes

It was my 10th birthday. I live in Cartersville Georgia and we had 17 inches of snow.

D Pritchard

Married on the 12th in Dallas when on leave from Navy. Headed out on 13th to report to Norfolk,VA. We spent two days stuck on I20 with all the power company trucks trying to get to Alabama. Our first daughter was born 9 months later!


This is a great story! Thank you for sharing and thank you for your service!

Patti Gibson

I remember the Snow storm of 93, specifically because my son had just turned 1. You showed on your map where it was but you missed Western Kentucky. We got several inches and it closed our little town down for a few days.

Sandi Duncan

Hi Patti,
Thanks for your comment! It’s hard sometimes to find the picture-perfect picture for our stories! What a way to celebrate your son’s first birthday! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Mary Ellen Jimenez

Blizzard of 93 — I was born and raised in Connecticut so Winter snow was no big deal for us Hatters. However, the blizzard of 93 was so bad. I spent the Christmas/New Year holidays in Florida. I was stranded for three extra days waiting for the CT/New York region to clear up and resume flights. Don’t feel envy; Florida was unusally cold and I was not prepared.


my husbands band was playing in McDonough ga and on the first night there was no bad weather but they decided to stay and the next night they stayed in griffin ga and when they got up it was a blizzard and a tree fell on a car and they couldn’t get out plus the well ran on electricity and they had to melt snow for drinking water which had everyone came home when they were supposed to this would not have been a probable I had heat electricity food and booze they didn’t get home til Monday afternoon

Susan (Cooper) Hamby

I had just moved to SW part of VA in Sept, from S. FL (Homestead),after going through Hurricane Andrew, losing everything, i was scared because they said “high winds” with this Blizzard, but when it was over, I was like, that was it, worried over nothing. It was my kids (5 &7) first time seeing snow. Boy did they get to see a lot of snow. Drifts on the roads that were passable, were 10-20 feet.
So yes, I remember very well!!!!

Michael W Huggins

I’m from a little town called Homosassa Florida I was just a kid when it hit us and it was at night the wind was just so scary we could hear that freight train sounds of tornado I remember me and my 3 brothers in the bathroom when we woke up and it was daytime and that’s when the water came my father was outside checking out everything when he heard the sound of trees snapping coming from down the street and saw it a 4 foot tidal surge heading toward us he came running back inside and we watched it almost come in to the house and at the time we lived and a house on stilts just a little higher than 4 feet above the ground and it came almost up to the door of the house

Susan Higgins

Michael, that must have been terrifying! Especially for a little kid. Glad you all made it safely through.

Mary Anne Brazell

I live in Columbia, SC. One of my sons was born during the Blizzard of ’93, March 13th to be exact. When I got to the hospital around 1pm, there was only two or three other women in the maternity ward. At 9pm, the maternity ward was full of women in labor! The nurse told me that the extreme drop in the barometric pressure brought on many women’s labor!


We weathered the storm at my mom and dads. They had a coal stove and plenty of home canned food. They had a building about 200 yards behind their house, where they did crafts. Me and my sister couldn’t find my 2 year old. We looked everywhere we could think. Mom called from the building and ask if I was missing something. He had gotten out of the house in a cloth diaper and rubber pants and made his way to them. She said she looked out and all she could see was the crown if his head bobbing through the snow.

Angela dawson

I was 7 months pregnant with my first baby my husband said they werent predicting snow n I was being crazy for buying soup and a manual can opener we were snowed in for a little over a week n my crazy kept us fed 😉

Susan Higgins

Wow, great story. Thanks for sharing.


I started a new job at Cornell University 6 months prior to the blizzard. The University closed for, what I understand, the very first time ever. It was a very big deal!


I lived through it! 2 weeks with no power! Thank God, we had the old hand dug well for water, and enough wood for the heater.


I was 10 years old. We lived a half mile off of a dirt road in the North Carolina appalachian mountains. It was 2 weeks before the roads were cleared and 3 weeks before power was restored. Luckily we had a woodstove. My mother cooked up tons of soups on that stove and my dad buried a cooler in the snow to keep our fridge stuff cold. It was pioneer times and some of my best favorite memories were those few weeks.

Lynn Holt-Campbell

We went up for a weekend of skiing and, in less than 24 hours, had over three feet of snow. Couldn’t leave. We were all but trapped in our tiny cabin but had the most amazing experience. Thank goodness there was a convenience store just below our cabin or we would have starved, because we only took food for two days.

Frieda Posey

I was teaching in Germany when I got called to TN to see my dying mother. The day after she died, my husband and one daughter were on their way from Germany and another daughter from Illinois. They all arrived safely, but that night at 2:00 am, it starting snowing. Our all-electric home shut down by morning, plus our well pump wouldn’t work. No water for toilets or anything else. Nothing to cook on, except a buck stove. We couldn’t get out of our garage either.
The next day, a neighbor with a Jeep took us to a motel owned by another neighbor who had saved us a room.
Nothing was open except a Waffle House close by. Finally they ran out of everything except waffles and syrup. We finally got to have my Mother’s funeral, but it took me literally twenty years to eat at a Waffle House!

Susan Higgins

Hi Frieda, thanks for sharing that story! Wow, you guys endured quite a bit.


Remember So Well It Was So Bad My Mother took 6 kids we stayed at Day Inn On Buford Hey 2 weeks got lots of food, Tried To Go Out after a week slid all over the road Turning donuts it the middle of Buford Hwy so much fun ❄️❄️❄️

Bonnie Holley

Yes, I remember seeing it snow on Ft. Walton Beach FL!

Darren Ahearn

I was a college student at Lee university in cleveland Tennessee…we got 4 ft of snow and never made it to spring break in florida. It was unbelievable and will never see a storm like that again …oh yeah the thunder snow and lightning was amazing

Susan Higgins

Hi Darren, thank you for sharing your story with us! We love thundersnow!


I don’t remember this storm as well as I do the one from the following year in December ‘94/January ‘95. I was a senior in high school and we didn’t think we’d ever get to graduate. We got out of school in December for Christmas break in 1994 and didn’t step foot back into school until February 1995. We missed almost two months of school. We would think school would be ready to start and we’d get another pile of snow. We finally graduated in June of ‘95.

Diane Standish

We are from western Pa, lived south of Pittsburgh. The snow was so deep our little patch community wasnt cleared for 3 days. There is only one road in and it was shut down till then. Luckily I never my car 1/2 mile down road to the fire station parking lot and I was able to somehow get to work. It was just crazy, I was grateful for my little 4 speed jetta that went beautifully in any weather!

Lisa walker

Being in East Tennessee for less than a year, we knew it was coming, but never in our wildest dreams expected anything like this! It was March, how bad could it be? My husband and I along with our 2 children were renting a house not far from where we were building our own in Riceville Tn. Just for fun, I snapped a picture of my husband standing next to a fence with the beautiful warm sun shining on his face and took another the next day, same place, standing in 3ft of snow. It began the night before, the howling wind was deafening. We were up all night listening to the trees and power lines break from the weight of the snow. McMinn County was paralyzed! No power for 7 days. Thank goodness for the fire place upstairs and the wood stove down in the basement, I cooked bacon and eggs, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and more on that stove. We will never forget The Storm of The Century!! I still have the T Shirt…. I Survived The Blizzard of 93!!
Thank you for this article.

Susan Higgins

thank you, Lisa, for sharing your story!


Me and a small group of friends holed up with a friend that had a wood burning fire place on a farm out in the middle of nowhere in Upstate NY ( snow belt). We got 38″ of snow and it took three days to plow us out. They had to use a front-end loader and dump truck to remove the snow which had drifted into ridiculously high snow banks. They had a sunken driveway, and the next morning when I looked out, it was completely filled in, the cars buried. The only way you could tell a car was under there, was the top 6″ of car antenna poking out. They took me into town on the back of a snowmobile to get a few supplies, and I cooked old-fashioned home cooking the whole time. We played a lot of cards and board games to fill the time. It was kinda fun, but I wouldn’t want to do it again.


Yes, I remember it well. Nothing like this had ever occurred in my lifetime living in Alabama. Listening to the wind howl all night as the blizzard arrived dumping the most snow I’d ever seen around my house was an experience I’ll never forget. I woke up to snow drifts of up to 4 feet. WOW! Truly amazing to see! It was days before power was restored – some as long as two weeks and being stranded at home during this time found us being very creative with out survival methods. Thank goodness for gas heat and stove. Unfortunately, we had an electric hot water heater so showering in freezing cold water was not on my list of essential things to do. Now, because of that blizzard, many people in our neighborhood purchased generators and other survival equipment – we changed out the hot water tank to gas and we’ll never worry about again!


My husband proposed to me in front of a nice fire. We will be married 21 years in July and have 4 amazing daughters. Will remember that storm forever.

Michael Amato

In Southern CT were I live we had along period of snow & sleet which held our accumulation to about a foot. My 58 year old barometer fell to its all time low reading of 28.68″. No hurricane including Gloria, Sandy & Irene made my barometer fall that low. Surprisingly, the top wind gust where I lived was only about 30 MPH. That really surprised me.

Mary Gill-Warren

I remember like it was yesterday…We had rented a small 30 cow barn to start dairy farming…there was no house available so we lived at my parents house, twenty minutes away, in a neighboring town. We knew it was going to be a bad one so we brought in extra feed for the cows…extra hay for the heifers. Because we were sure we wouldn’t be able to commute we decided we would camp out in the barn, we ran home one last time, picked up some grinders at the store, soda, chips, snacks and extra clothes, blankets and sleeping bags. The storm started at about 4 pm here on the 23rd. Our plan was foiled at 6 pm. We recieved a call from our landlords father (Gramp) and his wife, Lucy. They insisted we spend the night up at their house, which was just across the dirt road from the barn. When we finally finished up chores and buckled the barn up as much as we could, it was eight o’clock. We headed up across the road. The wind was howling and the snow was already over our knees. Down over the hill I saw headlights. Someone was stranded on the road. My first instinct was to walk down there but my boyfriend said “no”. We would make it up to the house and call the neighbor to see if the people had gone to her house first. Luckily they had. They were stranded there for the night. Gramp and Lucy’s was a huge, old farmhouse. I had never been inside any further than the kitchen. It was old, but gorgeous. I never would have thought that old house was as nice as it was from looking at it from the outside. Lucy had made us an oven baked barbeque chicken dinner and a homemade apple pie for desert. We sat in the kitchen and chatted until eleven or so, listening to the wind howling outside the windows and the sheets of snow being blown against them. Lucy took us up to our room and informed us she had turned on the electric blanket already. THANK GOD for that!!! As beautiful as that old house was, it was the coldest house I had ever been in. We could see our breath in that bedroom. We went to bed bundled up with as many clothes on as we usually wore outside for chores. It was on the north side of the house ,which incidentally, was the direction the storm was hitting. All night we listened to the old windows rattling and every now and then I would nudge my boyfriend (now husband) to see if he was still alive and not froze to death. Before I dozed off, I said “goodbye”. He asked “goodbye??” I said, “yes, goodbye…if we lose electricity during the night and this electric blanket goes off, they will find us both frozen to death right here tomorrow!!!”. Needless to say we survived. The next day was a long day shoveling out and chores took forever, but we muddled through. That was 22 years ago now, and as we look back today, it was a fond memory of spending time with two great old people who took us in from the storm and opened their home to us. Gramp and Lucy are both gone now. The little barn we started farming in gone as well, but we still have all our cherished memories of the good times we had there and riding out the “storm of the century” there.


What an amazing account and story you have there! It would make a great short story.. or even a movie! 😉 And you are a great writer! Go for it! 🙂


During this blizzard my son who was 3 years old at the time, was experiencing appendicitis and we had to get him to the hospital. We had to dig our vehicle out first and the trip to the hospital that should have taken 15 mins took us over an hour to travel. Got him there and they took gm in for surgery

Dyanna Lang

Yes indeed snowed for 3/4 days in Picayune MS had about 7 inches of snow…Was freaky especially being in March…need some more but without the flooding and bad stuff that came with it..


My brother Jake and sister Vanessa were all ski instructors at Beech Mtn Ski Resort. I remember the actual snow depth being over the rails of the deck. It was awesome. We got stuck at Sue’s house with some other ski instructors. We were lucky we did not loose power or cable. NCAA tournament was on.

When we surfaced from the house to the resort it was like a going back to Colorado where we were all born. Snow drifts above my Jeep and to the roof of the ski resort. Still have very fond memories.

linda white

My husband worked for the TVA here and was part of a team of electrical linemen who went to east Tennessee to string wire. He brought home unbelievable pictures of the blizzards damage. Here we were enjoying sunshine and warmth.

Diane Hinkle

We lived in Clifton, Va at the time and had a lot of snow. My family and my husband’s still lived in Knoxville. We saw pictures of the snowfall and saw the very cold temperatures. They had us beat by a lot! We also lived thru the freezing rain /ice storm of January 1972 in the Atlanta area. That was the worst I have been in……about 10 days with no power. We had the only fireplace in a new subdivision and had just moved there from Merritt Island, FL. All our neighbors, dogs, cats and birds spent about 8 days with us. We were all so very happy when the power came back on. This recent freezing rain storm in East Tennessee left us without power for 48 hours. The older we get the more difficult it seems to get. Thinking about a generator at this point. Which will probably mean we will never have another power outage. : )

Daria Stark

I was on a cruise. We were supposed to come home on Saturday. We got off the boat in Puerto Rico on Saturday morning and we couldn’t get a flight out until Monday afternoon. Most of the airports on the entire east coast were shut down. It was a very long 3 days!


My mom was 5 months pregnant with me during the Blizzard. From what she has told me there was snow up past her waist in South Central West Virginia.


I remember that storm vividly! Our pipes froze & burst under the house. Our dog wouldn’t go outside. Our kitty went out to do his duty & howled all the back to the door to make sure I was there to let him back in. Of course I was there waiting for him. Don’t want another winter storm like that.


I had just to moved to Birmingham, Alabama in August 1992, from Kentucky. I am a nurse, went to work that weekend, and was told I could not leave when work was finishe’d, and that I- 59 and I-65 were closed. I spent the weekend at University of Alabama Hospital where I worked, and didn’t get home to my husband and three young children until Monday morning! I stopped to buy bread and milk, and store shelves were almost empty! This was so different from life in Kentucky, where, in most storms, life went on as usual.


I remember trying to fly out of Syracuse, NY for a cruise. We and 4 others went to the airport hotel the night before because they were predicting a storm. Woke up the next morning to find the airport closed and you couldn’t even see your car in the parking lot. Lucky for us we had the hotel room because folks were sleeping on the floor at the airport. We were stuck there for 3 days! Never did make it to the cruise.


I vividly remember this storm and the week it took before the power was restored; some of my co-workers were four weeks waiting, or longer. It turned out to be a most bizarre seven days.

That night, as if thunder and lightening snowfall weren’t strange enough, the ground was lit with an eerie orange reflective glow. Although I lived in suburban Knoxville, the house was on the top of a hill and heavily wooded, and one of the few with a wood stove. Friends and neighbors drifted in and out all week; we had a host of folks cozily camped out in the living room and hallway. I remember gingerly tiptoeing around snoozing bodies during the night to refuel the fire, when the wood burned down and the returning chill seeped through the covers and woke me. And there was one afternoon when my housemate and I lugged a full drum of kerosene on a plastic sled up the hill from his stuck truck. I made new friends and relearned the art of conversation; ate some of the tastiest slow-simmered stew I’ve ever had; and took the absolutely coldest…and shortest…shower of my life! There was over a foot of drifting snow, and conditions were primitive and potentially dangerous, but somehow the experience seemed more like an adventure than an ordeal.

Pat Chastain

rtersville. and 1 1/2 miles from the then GoodYear Mills but didn’t get power for 5 days because we were on a farm and not a sub division. Never mind that the houses here are about 100-300 ft. apart on the main road we are not in a subdivision so Ga. Power could get more homes in a shorter period of times fartther out in the country than we were. After the Blizzard, my husband installed gas logs in the fireplace, and put a heater out of site in our hallway to heat the bedrooms and baths and stubbed for another in the former screened porch now a 14 x22 office. Hope we never have this to happen again, don’t think I cold take it now with 20 yrs. more than I was then. We all did get a lot of sleep and family time together when you don’t have a TV and read by candle or kerosene lamp light. Don’t believe the younger goup would survive if we had another like this. They are just not prepared and most homes are total electric with heat pumps now. Hope someone enjoys reading this as much as I did remembering all the little details. By the way i was the one in the family that kept the fire going all night until about 5 or 6 in the morning, then woke the rest of the family up to put the 36″ long big log and we stayed warm,never got cold but couldn’t do that now. We have two heat pumps to heat the house now but would have to depend on the City of Cartersville gas to keep warm should we have another blizzard. God is still so good to us all because we live in the Greatest Country in the World. Would not trade with any other country for what we have in the Good Ole USA.


I also remember the Blizzard of ’93, and I remember that it happened just after Clinton became President (a moment of hope not unlike Obama’s first days). It was so unexpected, but I thought it happened in April because I remember that spring leaves had been on the trees. I didn’t remember it happening on a weekend, but that does explain my main memory, which is going out the next morning – I lived on 110th St. in Manhattan – awed by the purity of the snow. I was disoriented by how vastly it had changed the city landscape; all the parked cars had disappeared, and I couldn’t see the street around all these enormous, rounded humps of snow on both sides of the street. Kids and parents were playing and throwing snowballs in the middle of the street, having a blast. They were sliding down the enormous piles of snow from the top of the wall surrounding Central Park and even from the tops of the cars, using anything they could find to slide on, including black garbage bags- city kids don’t have sleds! I remember that on 110th St., a 2-way street, one lane got plowed out, leaving at least 10′ high drifts that further blocked in the cars, making the sledding even better by nightfall. The kids kept sledding under the streetlights on the gigantic, 20′-25′ drifts that were left by the plows on the corner of each block. They must have continued sledding on Monday, since I remember going to the subway- NYC traffic shuts down, but the subway keeps on going, and going… I was heading to work, but wishing I could be out with them. 20′ drifts- how awesome! Even sledding when I was a kid, when there was more snow more often, didn’t leave 20′ hills of snow at a 50° or 60° angle! Another great part was that the uptown, poor kids had the best access to the biggest hill in Central Park, just below 110th St. where _nobody_ went in those days except the drug dealers. The snow melted too rapidly, and within a few days, I remember the slush, dirt and ugliness, such a difference from the heaps of pure beauty that morning.


I had lived in the Hurricane Andrew area in Aug 1992.My home was demolished,so i moved south to Key Largo,Florida.I was asleep when the March 1993 storm hit.I came straight up in a sitting position in panic mode.The winds & sounds were the hurricane just 7 months earlier.I paced until i calmed myself.The worst part was hearing the next day about a woman who was killed in my hometown 30 miles north.She had survived hurricane Andrew but not this 2nd storm.

Susan (Cooper) Hamby

I lived in Princeton, FL during Andrew, lost everything. So we moved north, where snow drifts were up to 20ft in places. The winds scared me too

Rosanne Hall

I remember that our weather forecasters were only calling for about 4 inches to fall. The next morning we woke up to about 22 inches in Crossville, TN. We are up on a plateau so our weather is more intense than surrounding areas. My husband and I managed a small cable company and he was determined to go check out the system. I had to laugh because he only got to the end of the driveway and went in the ditch and the van stayed there for several days. I think our children were out of school for at least a week as we don’t have equipment to deal with that much snow. That goodness for wood stoves. I know our children had a blast sledding down the hill.


I live in Lynchburg, Virginia and we had 15″ of snow on the ground. We woke up to snow past our knees. It might have snowed 2 inches during the day on March 12th but that night something must have happened. We went from a small 2″ to a whopping 15″ in one night. My sister was flying up here from Florida but her flights were cancelled for 2 days. She couldnt even get to North Carolina. Much less Virginia!! It was a nightmare


My family lives about 25 miles southwest of Washington, DC and I remember that my kids got a week off of school and had a blast sledding. I also remember that the federal government was shut down for most of the week. My oldest children remember having 30 minutes added to the school day for the rest of the school year to make up for all the snow days they missed; not as much fun.


My husband and I were married exactly one year before in 1992 . If we had it one year later we would have had to postpone until the storm was over. Needless to say we spent our first wedding anniversary snowed in.


Mostly what I remember, is climbing over snow banks to feed the birds.


I remember 9 months later my daughter was born and she wasnt the only one. There was a baby boom at that time as a result of the storm.


I sold the last of our 4 snowmobiles just 3 days prior. Harumph.

K. Mattson

I am from California but my husband, who was my husband-to-be at the time, was from the Philadelphia, PA area. His father and mother lived in Harrisburg, PA. His father, age 75 went out to shovel snow, came back in and dropped dead of a massive coronary.

I remember the difficulty getting my husband any type of transportation to get him back home for the funeral. I finally secured an airline reservation at an exorbitant cost even for grievance fare and we held our breath that the weather would let up enough for the flight to get through, which it did. My husband told me he remembers carrying his father’s casket along with his other brothers and family down the icy steps of the church with the snow and wind blowing in his face making it hard to keep on your feet much less to see properly. It was by the grace of life they made it down the stairs safely.


The Navy had just relocated me from Florida to Connecticut. The base shut down early but I needed to stop at the commissary; so I drove home in white-out conditions down a 10 mile stretch of I-95, following the taillights in front of me.


What I remember is that a girl in my office was getting married – I seem to remember that the day of the storm or close to it was the day of her wedding! Also because I was getting married on March 23rd we were afraid the snow would still be on the ground, but looking back at pictures it was mostly gone

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