Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is a New York Emmy award winner (2007), five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' in Connecticut (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012) ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction (2012 & 2013) ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award (2012) ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Memories of the Christmas Eve Snowstorm in 1966 Won't Ever Fade

Is this really the third day of Winter? It's hard to believe, since temperatures are in the 50s this morning after a record high of 60 degrees was established at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford yesterday. That broke the previous record high of 59 degrees set in 1998. Periods of rain will continue through this afternoon, but much colder air will arrive tonight. In fact, daytime highs will only reach the mid 30s tomorrow with some light snow for a brief period Christmas Eve.

I can't help but recall the snowiest and most memorable Night Before Christmas in my lifetime. Forty-seven years ago, over a half-foot of snow blanketed southwestern Connecticut on Saturday, December 24, 1966, resulting in treacherous roads, numerous accidents, and cancelled church services. Officially, 6.9 inches of snow fell at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, which still stands as a record nearly a half-century later.

According to an article which appeared in the Bridgeport Sunday Post the following day, the "weather plight was part of an old-fashioned Nor'easter, which brought icy cold, high winds, and a blanket of snow to most of the East (coast)." Gale force winds hammered the region through most of the storm. Take a look at the front page newspaper article from December 25, 1966:



I recall my Dad attempting to drive my family, including my Mom, brother, sister, and me to my grandmother's home in Bridgeport for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. However, after sliding and skidding several times, our car got stuck on a hill in Fairfield. After several minutes, my Dad was able to gain some traction, and we decided to head home and avoid any more perils on the roads.

Although it's been 47 years since that unforgettable Christmas Eve, I remember it like it was yesterday. Do you have any memories of that storm from 1966? If so, I'd like to hear from you. Our weather won't be quite as memorable this year, but at least we won't have any worries if our travels take us to grandma's house for Christmas Eve.