27 Years Ago, North Carolina Was Hit With The Worst Blizzard In History
Western North Carolina is no stranger to late season snowfall. Even in May and June, the snow has been known to make a rare, occasional appearance. And in most areas, March can be late in the season for significant amounts of new powder to fall. But not in 1993, the year North Carolina experienced the worst blizzard in history.
What began as a storm moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico, first brought a little rain, then hail, and a little snow. But things went downhill fast from there.
The super cell in which the storm resided quickly covered nearly all of the east coast from Canada to the Gulf.
Once the snow began to fly on March 12, 1993, it didn't stop until three days later and it left a path of devastation all along the east coast.
North Carolina saw new records for snowfall from a single storm. Snowfall reached massive amounts. In Boone, 30 inches fell from March 12-14. The storm affected both high and low elevations. Beech Mountain saw a record 41 inches and Glendale Springs, located to the north of Wilkesboro, saw 24.6 inches fall during what was dubbed the Storm of the Century.
Additionally, the storm dropped a massive 50 inches of snow at Mount Mitchell. That's more than four feet of fresh snow!
Even more damaging than the snowfall, massive drifts occurred, some as high as eight feet. On top of Mount Mitchell, where the most snow was recorded, drifts of up to 10 feet were measured.
But snow wasn't the only way the Storm of the Century affected North Carolinians. The storm carried winds equal to pressure seen in a Category 3 hurricane. And the wide path of the storm carried its effects all the way to the Outer Banks, where as many as 200 homes were destroyed. In all, 26 states were affected by the storm. It covered more than 550,000 square miles and dropped snowfall estimated to weigh as much as 27 billion tons.
Temperatures plummeted and stayed that way for days.
Power outages were rampant and widespread.
Roads will considered impassable and throughways all the way from interstates to local neighborhoods were closed to traffic. Locals and visitors alike were stranded. Even hikers making their way along the Appalachian Trail were stranded and had to be rescued. Other visitors were stranded in hotels and rental homes for days without power or heat.
For those who endured the Storm of the Century, memories of the storm and the days that follow are a brutal reminder of the power of a colossal weather event – even when you see it coming. In total, at least 270 deaths across the east were attributed to the Storm of the Century, a.k.a. the Blizzard of ’93. Do you remember this event from just 27 years ago? Feel free to share your memories… our comments section is always open for discussion.
In spite of events like the Blizzard of ’93, winter in North Carolina is one of our favorite seasons. For a more lighthearted look at winter in the Tar Heel State, check out
12 ways to survive a winter in North Carolina.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.