Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rare May Snowstorm Clobbered New England on This Date in 1977

One glance at our weather this morning, and it's hard to believe that a snowstorm hit much of New England on this date 35 years ago. Our daybreak weather this morning was rainy, foggy, humid, and quite mild with temperatures close to 60 degrees. You'll need to keep the umbrella handy through early tomorrow before our weather picture brightens later in the day.

However, it was quite a different story around these parts Monday, May 9, 1977. A storm system brought snow and record-cold temperatures to much of New England. In fact, at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, a trace of snow fell, and the temperature dropped to 37 degrees that morning, establishing a record low for this date. Other than a trace of snow which was reported May 27, 2010, it's the latest Spring day on which any snow has ever fallen in southwestern Connecticut.


The storm was quite shocking for this time of the year. Consider the normal high temperature for May 9 is 65 degrees, and the normal low temperature is 48. Snow in southwestern Connecticut is almost unheard of seven weeks after the Vernal Equinox. The coldest temperature ever recorded this month was 31 degrees on March 10, 1966.

According to the Naugatuck Daily News, "A Spring storm dumped several inches of snow on some parts of Berkshire County in Massachusetts. The area hardest hit by the storm was Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where police reported 10 inches of snow on the ground. Similar amounts were reported in parts of Vermont. Great Barrington police said there 'were about 100 trees down, wires are down, and we've got reports of accidents we can't get to.'"

Residents in the northwestern Connecticut rural communities of Goshen and Cornwall reported unofficial snow depths of up to five inches. The snow began to fall heavily in the Hartford area at the height of the commuter rush, slowing traffic considerably on most roads. The National Weather Service said a deepening area of low pressure over Connecticut produced a variety of weather conditions across Western Connecticut.

I consider myself a local weather history buff, but I honestly don't remember this storm. Special thanks to viewer Ralph Fato for recalling it and bringing it to my attention. It certainly had to be memorable for those who had to dig out of nearly a half-foot of snow in the northwestern corner of the state. I'm sure they were wearing their Winter coats, too, with the mercury plunging into the 30s.

Paul

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