Remembering the Blizzard of 1993

Snow and drifts in Staunton
Snow and drifts in Staunton(Laurie Bame)
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 1:54 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2023 at 11:30 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -On March 12, we remember one of the biggest March snow storms to ever hit the East Coast: the blizzard of 1993.

Known as “The Storm of the Century,” it started in the Gulf Coast with severe weather. A derecho struck Florida with winds recorded at more than 90 mph, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Eleven confirmed tornadoes struck Florida during the system.

We are actually missing the NWS storm report data from this event including information on the roof collapses locally. So if you have any photos or had damage, you can email Chief Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz at

We do have WHSV archives but we are always looking for historical weather photos or even video.

The severe weather of the blizzard of 1993 in Florida.
The severe weather of the blizzard of 1993 in Florida.(NWS)

Then, the cold air came. Record snow fell across the deep south. Birmingham, Alabama recorded 13″ of snow.

Snow started to fall across the mid-Atlantic late Friday night and turned heavier in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 13, even plow trucks got stuck in the heavy snow.

The storm intensified, and low pressure dropped rapidly, making it one of the most intense nor’easters ever. The pressure dropped so low that it was typically the same pressure found in a Category 3 hurricane.

One to three feet of snow fell widespread across New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Ohio Valley. With hurricane force winds (winds more than 74mph), the blizzard affected the entire east coast.

Locally, snow ranged from 16″-36″ but some of the snow drifts were as high as 12 feet!

Snow from the deep south to the Northeast
Snow from the deep south to the Northeast(NWS)


Here’s one of the stories that aired on WHSV right after the storm:

Gusts to 60mph were recorded in the Shenandoah Valley. Here’s the Timberville weather station recording a gust at 50mph. The wind was so strong it made it very difficult to measure. There were huge snow drifts. There was mail, unable to be delivered because the snow and the drifts were so deep. I-81 was also closed leaving many drivers stranded.

There were several roof collapses in the area.

Debbie Rhodes remembers the massive snow drifts, “We were SNOWED completely in outside of Broadway with 6 feet of drifts in the road that the state couldn’t plow. The state snow blower had to come blow us out and our young kids were ecstatic with glee watching!!”

Timberville weather log by Joyce Winfree
Timberville weather log by Joyce Winfree(NOAA)

Measuring snow became challenging because of the strong winds. There were snow drifts 5-12 feet high.

This storm is still one of the worst storms ever to hit the Northeast, and one of the costliest. More than 270 deaths were attributed to the storm, 11 of those in Virginia. The heavy snow caused many roof collapses locally.

The Dale Enterprise weather log, just a few miles west of Harrisonburg by Richard Weaver....
The Dale Enterprise weather log, just a few miles west of Harrisonburg by Richard Weaver. Blizzard of 1993(NWS)

Snow removal and the cleanup efforts across the state were estimated to be around $16 million according to the storm report from the National Weather Service.

Check out this video from Cynthia Crawford. This was taken on Wolfe Street in Harrisonburg:


You can always upload your historical weather photos here:

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