Blizzards in Cleveland

by Cammy Cort

Cleveland, Ohio is not known as a place to have terrible winters. The temperatures may drop from time to time but few winter weather events make the news here. As unlikely as it may seem, there were two blizzards in Cleveland, the Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm of 1950 and the “White Hurricane” of 1978.

Cleveland, Ohio is not known as a place to have terrible winters. The temperatures may drop from time to time but few winter weather events make the news here. As unlikely as it may seem, there were two blizzards in Cleveland, the Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm of 1950 and the “White Hurricane” of 1978.

On Friday November 24, 1950, temperatures dropped to zero and the wind speed was over 40 mph. This was the beginning of the Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm, the biggest snowstorm in Ohio history. This snowstorm was part of a larger weather system called the Great Appalachian Snow Storm. The Great Appalachian Snow Storm moved over the eastern part of the United States causing hurricane-force winds and blizzard conditions.  By the 25th of November, there were 20 inches of snow and the drifts were 25 feet deep. In other parts of Ohio, there were up to 33 inches of snow, a little under 3 feet. Wires were blown down and many lost power. Many buildings collapsed because of the weight of 3 feet of snow. The Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm left the state with $1 million in damages and 23 people were killed.  

The blizzard of 1978, nicknamed “The White Blizzard”, was one of the worst storms to sweep over the Ohio Valley area. This storm started in Ohio as rain and fog on November 25, but by November 26 the temperatures has already plummeted by 39 degrees in six hours and 50 mph. winds had become steady. These winds, with gusts up to 82 mph, caused the windchill temperature to drop to -60 degrees. This storm dropped 7.1 inches of snow on Cleveland, and a record of 52 inches in Muskegon, Michigan. 51 people died as a result of the White Hurricane of 1978.

These blizzards show how if the perfect meteorological events combine, they can make the most unlikely events come true. These blizzards remind us that we have to be careful and prepared for the most unlikely conditions no matter where we live or how old we are.