One of Maine’s Worst Snowstorms in History Happened This Weekend in 1996
We’re Mainers, so we’re used to an occasional big snowstorm that drops several inches on us. But occasionally there are the ones that bring widespread power outages, whiteout driving conditions, and large numbers of car accidents.
Dubbed as one of the most significant and horrific snowstorms of the 20th century, the “Blizzard of ‘96” occurred from January 6-8 of 1996 on this weekend 28 years ago.
According to the National Weather Service, this nor’easter “paralyzed the Eastern Seaboard for a better part of the week”. The high winds and limited visibility actually left people stranded at their offices, or they were left to stay at hotels in the area. Warnings were issued for people to not leave their homes if possible. In some cases, it wasn’t even an option as snow drifts had formed over cars.
The National Weather Service stated that this storm was essentially the result of two weather systems coming together leading to heavy snowfall, high winds, and extremely low temperatures. With some areas in Maine receiving over two feet, this wasn’t the most impactful storm in terms of snow totals. However, it was and remains one of the most impactful and memorable storms ever. According to the National Weather Service, it caused over $500 million in insured losses, resulted in 60 deaths, and shut down travel for five days after it ended.
A lot of Mainers love a good dumping of the white stuff as we have so many trails to enjoy throughout the state, whether we’re on the mountains, on skis and snowboards, in the woods, or on snowshoes and snowmobiles. But when the high winds and cold temps mix with heavy snow, that’s when it becomes a big problem.
Let’s bring on the snow for the winter of ‘24, but leave the high winds out of it.
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Gallery Credit: Lizzy Snyder