JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Thirty years ago this weekend, the Blizzard of 1993 struck the East Coast, producing record snowfall, high winds, extensive damage, and hundreds of fatalities. The storm had a significant impact on our region.
The blizzard paralyzed the Tri-Cities with heavy snow, intense winds, and cold temperatures. The Tri-Cities Airport recorded a low temperature of 8 degrees on March 14 and 1 degree on March 15, 1993. The Tri-Cities had its fourth heaviest one-day snow total with 11 inches, but the actual snowfall total from the blizzard was 13 inches.
The Storm of the Century as it’s known now formed over the south Texas coast and the western Gulf of Mexico on March 12, 1993. The storm rapidly strengthened and moved inland across the Florida panhandle. It then moved into the Southeast and up the East Coast through March 14.
The storm was so intense that it produced a squall line of thunderstorms across the Florida peninsula which spawned 11 tornadoes and produced damaging hurricane-force winds across the Gulf of Mexico into Florida and south to Cuba. Cuban officials reported 120 mph winds during the storm.
The strength of the storm pulled in the cold air while the tight pressure gradient produced blizzard conditions and record snowfall from Mobile, Alabama to New England.
Snowfall with the blizzard was incredible. Mt. Leconte in the Smokies recorded 60 inches of snow and Mt. Mitchell recorded 50 inches of snow.
Chattanooga recorded 20 inches of snow, Knoxville had 11 inches, and the Tri-Cities received 13 inches.
Snowshoe, West Virginia recorded a whopping 44 inches of snow while Boone, North Carolina saw 33 inches. Gatlinburg picked up 30 inches and London KY recorded 22 inches.
The Deep South received snow as well. Atlanta airport picked up over four inches of while parts of the northern suburbs of Atlanta recorded 10 inches of snowfall.
The Blizzard left 10 million without power and caused over $5 billion in damages.
The Storm of the Century also took the lives of over 300 people.
It’s a storm that many will never forget.