Remembering The April Fool's Day Snow Storm Of 1997
The 1997 April Fool's Day blizzard was a major winter storm in the Northeastern United States on March 31 and April 1, 1997. The storm dumped rain, sleet, and snow from Maryland to Maine leaving hundreds of thousands without power and as much as three feet of snow on the ground.
Due to the date many people took warnings of the storm less than seriously. Plows had already begun to be put away for the summer and hardware stores had to sell shovels again even though they already had out patio furniture. One commuter called it "Mother Nature's April Fools' Joke."
Prior to the storm, Boston had received just 26.5 inches (67 cm) of snow for the season. On Sunday March 30, Boston was sunny with a high temperature of 63 °F. A cold front passed early next day (Monday March 31), dropping the temperature into the 40's, and just prior to dawn precipitation began to fall in the form of light rain. In Boston the rain began to mix with wet snow mid-morning and eventually turned to wet snow and became heavier just after 7 p.m. From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. the snow fell at a rate of at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) per hour.
During the peak of the storm from about 11 p.m. March 31 to 3 a.m. April 1, snow fell in Boston at the rate of 3 inches (7.6 cm) per hour. Numerous lightning strikes and thunderclaps accompanied the extremely heavy snow, which accumulated one foot (12 inches (30 cm)) in just that four-hour period. Moderate to heavy snow continued through mid-morning before tapering off
A state of emergency was declared by Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld. The snow came down too fast for road crews to keep up with and roads became impassable and thousands of cars were stranded. Commuter trolleys in Boston were closed for the first time in nearly twenty years, public transportation was crippled, about 1,000 motorists spent the night stranded in their cars and 4,000 stayed in shelters. Some of the narrow side streets of Boston were completely buried and portions of Interstate 95 and Route 128 were shut down because of the snow.The main roads and highways were cleared within a couple of days but the secondary roads remained a mess making travel difficult. Two days after the storm, subways and commuter rails were still sluggish because of fallen trees and signal problems.
Logan Airport was also shut down from 2 p.m. March 31 to 10 p.m. April 1.
Here is to hoping Mother Nature will not play a trick on us in the upcoming weeks and we are ready to spring into Spring!