A Record-Breaker: the Blizzard of 1888


I hope everyone is staying safe and warm this January day! East Coast-ers are currently dealing with a blizzard named “Winter Storm Juno.” The grocery and hardware stores have been raided, gas tanks have been filled, states of emergency have been declared, and roads have been closed. Snow totals of two to three FEET are expected in some areas, along with high winds and coastal flooding.

Thank goodness for radar and weather satellites, along with the trained forecasters and computer software to interpret the data. What would have happened if no one had known it was coming?

Answer: the Blizzard of 1888.

I’d say the occasion calls for an infographic on the subject, don’t you? Here’s more about “The Great White Hurricane,” as it was called:

blizzard infographic

Special thanks to mystery author and blogger Margot Kinberg, who sent me a terrific link about the historic event!

Want to read more about the Blizzard of 1888?

New York’s 1888 blizzard had smallpox, bonfires, and rubber boot shortages.

The Great Blizzard of 1888.

The Great White Hurricane.


What’s the worst storm you’ve ever dealt with? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,


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14 thoughts on “A Record-Breaker: the Blizzard of 1888”

  1. Margot KinbergMargot Kinberg

    Thanks very much, Kathy, for the kind mention! I appreciate it! And thanks for your really interesting writeup. It’s so hard to believe there was a time when there wasn’t much of a way to warn people of an oncoming storm, so that they could stay safe. It certainly gives a whole different perspective on this current storm!

  2. Bill BlissBill Bliss

    Great info-graphic, Kathy. Great history. I was not aware of the Blizzard of 1888. What a horrific human toll. You mention the effort to put transportation underground including the NYC Subway in 1904. Ironically, it was closed yesterday thanks to Juno. Can’t win ’em all.

  3. Kassandra LambKassandra Lamb

    Great post, Kathy. Unfortunately sometimes there is an over-reaction to the warnings about storms now. Why exactly did New York close the subway when it wanted cars off the streets?

    But the warnings are good overall. At least we don’t have the death tolls like they did back then.

  4. Sharla RaeSharla Rae

    Always love your historical blogs! And sure can see how a great story could develop out of this one.

  5. Paul KennaPaul Kenna

    When I was a little kid, my Great Uncle Jimmie (born in 1882) told me some episodes from his boyhood during the Blizzard of ’88. This would be in northeast New Jersey. Most people got through it and went on with their lives. I sometimes wonder how much the modern-day media-induced hysteria really helps.

  6. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    And small pox too? Good grief. As if it wasn’t enough to freeze to death. Let’s throw a little pox into the mix. Yes I think the media is completely capable of blowing up the news into seismic proportions. Yet, New England really got hit this week. Burrrr! Say warm Kathy.

  7. Loree HuebnerLoree Huebner

    Interesting post, Kathy. A lot of lives were lost in that 1888 blizzard. 48 years ago this week (I was a child) we had the great blizzard of ’67. Chicago and the Indiana region was blasted, unexpectedly. I can remember snow drifts to the roofs! We’ve had some pretty big storms over the years, but that one sticks out in everyone’s mind who lived through it.


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