The Blizzard of '96

On January 7 and 8, 1996, the Philadelphia area was blanketed with more than 30 inches (76 cm) of snow, far exceeding the previous record of 21 inches (53 cm) for a single snowfall. The region came to a virtual standstill. A state of emergency was declared, prohibiting the use of all roads, except for emergency purposes. Also closed were: January 9

As digging out continues, the region slowly begins to return to normal. Philadelphia International Airport reopens.

January 11

Most suburban communities have returned to business as usual. In the city of Philadelphia however, the struggle to recover continues. City schools remain closed, with hopes of reopening by January 16. Requests are made for volunteers with 4 wheel drive vehicles to help deliver food to the homebound and to transport patients who require dialysis. At night, "blizzard brigades", attempt to clear hundreds of miles of narrow city streets, using City vehicles, augmented by National Guard and private corporate equipment. Volunteers organize to clear neighborhood streets untouched by the plows. Still, many streets remain impassable... and more snow is predicted!

Janary 12 A new storm dumps several more inches of snow on the Philadelphia area.

January 19 Torrential rains and high temperatures result in extensive flooding. The Blizzard of '96, which began with the Big Digout, ends with The Big Pumpout. What's Next?

February 17 Another 7.5" (19 cm) of snow brings the total for the season at Philadelphia to 55.9" (141 cm), breaking the record of 55.4" (140 cm) that has stood since 1899. And, winter's not over yet!

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Revised February 19, 1996.

Copyright © 1996 by Glicksman Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.