Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Blizzard of 1772: The Washington Area's Worst Snowstorm?

"Snowmageddon" is what Barack Obama has called the blizzard of 2010! And the blizzard of 2010 is indeed the worst winterstorm the Washington, DC area has suffered through in recorded history. But, apparently, the blizzard of 2010 isn't the worst ever. That "honor" may go to the blizzard of 1772, an event recorded in the diaries of both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

The blizzard of 1772 reportedly blanketed the entire mid-Atlantic region, including Pennsylvania, New York, Baltimore, and what is now Washington, DC. Given the lack of official records from that period, we have only scattered diary accounts and newspaper records to go by. But if these accounts are any indication, it was quite an event!

According to York County, Pennsylvania records, entire deer herds were destroyed by the blizzard. And both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington put the accumulation at over three feet. They were apparently trapped in their homes!

While the one-two punch of 2010's blizzard (the second punch is currently being felt in the region) may be just as bad, we at least have the benefit of technology to help us cope. Imagine being in the days of Jefferson and Washington, where there was no Internet, no Weather Channel, no weather satellites, no paved roads, and no snow plows.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

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