Blizzard Of 1996 And Flooding Afterward

I had gotten my own phone line and dialup internet for school the fall before. One of the first things I did online was search for weather related stuff. I had subscribed to the newsgroup and there was talk of a potential storm. It was really cool to be able to lurk and read professionals’ thoughts on the potential storm. First time I got to follow the model shifts. For a time it looked like it’d be too far south.

Come January 8th it started snowing. The cool thing about having internet access is I could look at radar when I wanted, not as easily as today but it was still an improvement. I spent the day glued to the newsgroup and the weather channel as the snow continued to pile up. The news was asking for anyone with 4 wheel drive to volunteer to drive doctors and nurses to work as the snow continued.

Eventually it stopped and it was time to shovel. I walked to my nan and pop’s house to make sure they were okay and shovel their sidewalks and driveway for them. My cousin lived there, but she was too lazy to do it. Taking multiple measurements around their yard I measured between 30 inches and 5 feet of snow. Of course, it was drifted most in their driveway! I had some awesome pictures of it, but I don’t know what ever happened to them. Snow was plowed as high as the stop signs and street signs along Bristol pike. I had to walk in the road because I learned my lesson stepping off a snow bank walking into the setting sun on the way home. I remember in the city of Philadelphia they were dumping snow in the rivers since they had no place to put it.

Philly’s official snowfall was I think 32 inches which was a foot or so over their previous record. It was really awesome to be right in the bullseye of the storm for a change after what seemed like many years of always getting just missed!

It remained cold and the snow stuck around for about a week until we had a big warm up. I went to bed with 2 to 3 feet of snow still on the ground and woke up the next day with a foot of very wet slush on the ground which was gone within hours. It was all gone within about 24 hours. Temperatures were around 60 with several inches of rain. Everything was flooded and with ice jam flooding it’s still the worst flooding recorded some of the areas in Pennsylvania. This is what damaged the Walnut Street Bridge in Harrisburg. One can find videos from the news when that collapsed. That’s the power of mother nature.