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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Today Marks 12th Anniversary of Presidents Day Blizzard

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the unforgettable Presidents Day Blizzard of 2003. It ranked as the snowiest day on record at the time at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, tying the previous mark of 16 inches established on December 19, 1948, over a half-century ago. In New York's Central Park, where records date back well over a century, the 19.8 inches ranked as the fifth snowiest single day total. The weather map below is from midday February 17, 2003.


The snowfall totals across southwestern Connecticut were impressive. Darien and New Canaan measured the most snow (20 inches), while Westport (19"), Bridgeport (17"), Norwalk (16"), and Milford (15") also posted impressive totals. New Fairfield, in Northern Fairfield County, led the way locally with exactly two feet of snow. Here is the satellite image of the massive storm.


The magnitude of the storm was quite impressive. It spread heavy snow across the major cities in the Northeast from Washington to Boston. In fact, it was the biggest snowstorm on record in Baltimore (28.2") and Boston (27.5"). The storm actually developed in the southern Rockies on February 14 and moved through southern Missouri and the lower Tennessee Valley over the next two days. Eventually, the storm brought heavy rain and severe weather to the deep South.

In the Northeast, Arctic air helped slow down the storm and kept all of the precipitation in the form of snow and some sleet. By late Sunday evening, February 16, the snow reached the New York City area, and by midnight, it was snowing across all of southwestern Connecticut. A secondary area of low pressure developed off the Virginia coast the morning of February 17, turning the Nor'easter into a full-blown blizzard.

A storm system is sliding to the South this morning, resulting in slick roads and some travel difficulties. However, it won't be anything like what we experienced 12 years ago today.