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The 6 Worst Snowstorms in New York City History


New York City is no stranger to inclement weather in the winter months, with snowstorms of varying severity striking the city almost every year. 2023 is a real exception. But while most are fairly mild, a select few have gone down in history as some of the worst snowstorms New York has ever seen. Here are some of the most noteworthy examples:

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Blizzard of 1888 is one of the first and most iconic snowstorm events in NYC history. From March 11th to 14th 1888, 21.9 inches (55.6 cm) fell on the city over two days. It shut down transportation systems and stranded people from all walks of life.

Snow drifts of up to 50 feet (15 m) were reported in Central Park.

Another significant snow event was the February 11th, 2006 storm which dumped 26.9 inches (68.3 cm) on New York City. Over several days, snowfall totaled almost 40 inches (101 cm) at Central Park.

This massive accumulation caused huge disruption and left millions without power for days due to downed trees and cables across the region.

Finally, in December 2010 another powerful storm made its impact by causing havoc throughout Manhattan and costing an estimated $286 million in damages.

Heavy winds blew snowdrifts against buildings and vehicles while pushing icy waters into several areas such as Battery Park City’s underground malls where stores flooded with freezing water up to 10 feet (3 m) deep.

Other Notorious NYC Snowstorms

A December 1947 snowstorm was particularly severe in New York City, seeing more than 21 inches (53 cm) of snowfall over two consecutive days. (See Life magazine pictorial feature.)

This storm caused extremely low visibility, making travel very difficult. Many flights were canceled.

On February 9th, 1969, another memorable snowstorm hit the city hard partly because of the political implications. It brought a substantial amount of snow – 14.5 inches. But the onslaught of criticism that hit Mayor John Lindsay’s unprepared administration was, in the long term, worst.

This event is notable for being one of the first snowstorms to be remembered and filmed on video due to the growing accessibility of television in homes at that time.

More recently, in December 2013 the city experienced blizzard conditions which left many areas covered in 15 inches of snow!

But the December 2013 storm was particularly devastating as it crippled transit networks. It disrupted power across parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn due to high winds and heavy snow accumulations.

The Roosevelt Island Daily is always free to read. But our expenses are not. Publishing has costs beyond the human ones of writing and reporting. We appreciate your generous contribution in support our work. Thank you.


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