In Sam Kantrow’s lifetime, the worst snowstorm he can recall is the blizzard of 2013. Cars were buried across the state, and outside of his house in Hamden, over three feet of snow fell.
The blizzard of ’78 is also an unforgetable benchmark snowstorm. But in our great, great grandparents generation, it’s the blizzard of ’88, that’s 1888, that marvels as the worst Connecticut blizzard on record, and it happened, 131 years ago today.
It all started around midnight on March 12, and didn’t end for almost 36 hours. During the height of the storm, hurricane force winds were reported and temperatures were reported to be well below zero. When all was finished, 400 people were dead, drifts were as high as 40 feet in New Haven, and a lot of snow fell. How much? How about 45 inches in New Haven, 50 inches in Middletown, and well over three feet in Hartford. The massive weight of the snow snapped telegraph and telephone lines across New York City, and eventually led to the underground subway and power grid systems they still use today.The railway system from New Haven to Times Square was also closed for eight days, thanks to snow drifts in Westport that were near tens of feet high.
It’s also important not to forget that snow can and often does fall this time of the year so winter is not quite over just yet.