Locals Recall Storm of the Century Twenty-Five Years Later

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) — It’s been 25 years since the  “Storm of the Century” dumped 10 to 30 inches of snow on Pennsylvania.

It spanned several East Coast states, killed 310 people, and cause more than $1.5 billion in damage.

According to the National Weather Service in State College, the storm had a minimum pressure equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane dumping 20 to 30 inches of snow across southwestern, central, and northeast Pennsylvania.

In areas of northwest and southeast Pa., anywhere from 10 to 20 inches of snow fell.

Pittsburgh set a record for a one-day snowfall, as 23.6 inches fell on March 13.

Some area residents shared their memories of that time.

Cindy Baughman had a harrowing experience.

“I had an appointment in DuBois with a specialist, who informed me that my platelet count was life-threatening, and I need to be flown to Pittsburgh immediately! I refused because I had a newborn baby girl at home that needed her momma,” Baughman said “They walked to my car, buckled my seat belt and told my husband not drive over 25 miles per hour. If I were in a car accident I would bleed internally and die.”

“A few hours later my husband and I drove to Pittsburgh where I spent two weeks in the hospital. I was diagnosed with Lupus. I didn’t know which was worse, the disease or not being able to be with my baby or not being able to be comforted by my family and friends because the roads were too terrible for anyone to travel to see me. Twenty-five years later I’ve survived and have four beautiful children.”

Peggy Hartzell Alsop said she and her children were snowed in for three days after the doors to their home were piled shut with snow.

Nancy S. Skeddle worked for one of the Big 10 accounting firms in Pittsburgh then.

She said, “We were doing 90 hours a week and we were ALLLLLLLLLLLL pleased when told to STAY HOME. I slept and (my) husband took care of snow and friends made spaghetti.”

Kristina Shoffstall had moved from Florida the summer of 1992 and was experiencing her first winter in Pa.

Ginger Morgan Covert says that she definitely remembered the terrible storm because her “high school class graduated six days late because of this storm.”

For Julie Anne, she said she didn’t remember getting a significant amount in ’93, “But, I remember the 30 inches in December of 1992.”

According to wikipedia.com, that storm, on December 10, 1992, produced up to 37 inches of snow in Pa., including 18.1 inches in State College.

As for the March 14, 1992 blizzard, according to pennlive.com, Gov. Robert P. Casey declared a state of emergency March 14 after conferring by telephone with Lt. Gov. Mark Singel and Joseph LaFleur, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency director.

Casey also authorized the state police to close all interstate highways. Primary and secondary roads were not included, but people were encouraged to stay home unless there was an emergency. Casey cited the danger to travelers and to state Department of Transportation crews who, he said, were fighting a losing battle to keep roads open.

The emergency declaration would make it possible for municipalities to request snow-plowing help from PennDOT and general emergency assistance from the National Guard. Guard units were placed on standby around Pennsylvania.

On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, members of the National Guard rode with plowing crews and helped disabled motorists off the roadway, said Phil Catalano, turnpike duty officer.

WPXI meteorologist Kevin Benson covered the storm around the clock, who said, “We were stuck at the station all weekend because anybody who wanted to relieve us couldn’t get on the road.”

The snow started to fall the night of Friday, March 12, but became much more intense on Saturday.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade continued in downtown Pittsburgh Saturday as the storm really kicked in. Snowfall rates were two to three inches per hour at times.

According to triblive.com story, the high temperature on March 14, 1993 was 17, with a low of 6. Those set still-standing records for the coldest March 14.

Across the state, more than four dozen people were killed – the highest statewide death toll of the storm. All told, 270 people died during the storm, and 48 were considered lost at sea as the storm ravaged the Gulf of Mexico.

The snow fell as far south as Alabama. Birmingham saw 13 inches of snow, as the storm system stretched from Canada to Honduras.

It produced 11 tornadoes across Florida that killed five people. Wind gusts reached more than 100 miles per hour.

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