Today marks the eighth anniversary of the record-setting snowstorm of Sunday, February 12, 2006. New York City's largest snowstorm ever was classified as a category three major storm. Low pressure formed over the Southeastern United States and moved Northeast off the mid Atlantic coast by Saturday evening, February 11.
The storm then intensified as it moved to the East-Northeast, passing South of Long Island on Sunday morning, February 12. A very intense band of heavy snow developed, producing snowfall rates as high as two-to-four inches an hour across extreme Southeastern New York and across much of Southern New England.
Here is a sampling of the official snowfall totals from across southwestern Connecticut following that memorable snowstorm:
- West Redding: 28"
- Easton: 27"
- Stamford: 24.5"
- Darien: 22.5"
- Norwalk: 22"
- New Canaan: 21.5"
- Fairfield: 18"
- Stratford: 13"
- Bridgeport: 12.5"
The storm closed regional airports, canceling hundreds of flights and for several hours virtually paralyzing normal traffic for city residents who took to the snow-caked streets in snowshoes and skis. New York municipal authorities had braced for the onslaught. Five-thousand workers at the New York City Department of Sanitation were put in place to use about 2,000 pieces of heavy equipment, including 350 salt spreaders and 20 snow-melting machines.
The National Weather Service said 26.9 inches of snowfall was measured in Central Park, exceeding the previous record of 26.4 inches, set in December 1947. The Winter storm's high winds, icy snow, thunder and lightning hit much of the mid-Atlantic and New England region, with parts of Arkansas and Tennessee also feeling the brunt of the storm.
"It's certainly the strongest storm this winter season," said Bruce Sullivan, an official with the National Weather Service. It hit a fairly large area, with accumulations of more than 20 inches of snow throughout New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Power also was out at thousands of homes and businesses in the New York City metropolitan area, including southwestern Connecticut.
Next Monday, February 17, marks the 11th anniversary of the Presidents Day snowstorm of 2003. That was one of the largest snowstorms in New York City's weather record books, too. I'll take a closer look at that storm next week.