They say you can't fool Mother Nature, but apparently Mother Nature likes to mess around with us! After our recent beautiful, spring-like days, the National Weather Service is warning of a possible nor'easter for our region this week. The storm is expected to begin Monday night and strengthen as it moves up the Atlantic coast on Tuesday. As of this writing, 12 to 18 inches of snow is predicted for northern New Jersey, 8 to 12 inches in central New Jersey, and 4 to 6 inches in southern New Jersey. When we're dragging out the snow shovels and gassing up the snowblower this week, we must comfort ourselves with the fact that spring begins March 20th, and despite what we may think, we're lucky. Yes, lucky...that this is 2017 and not 1888.
On March 11, 1888, the northeast was hit without warning by one of the worst blizzards in American history. After spring-like weather, temperatures plunged overnight; the ensuing storm dumped 55 inches of snow, plunging New York City and surrounding areas into white-out conditions. Wind gusts reached 85 miles per hour; boats sank and street trolleys blew over. Horse-drawn carts were abandoned. Train tracks, telegraph lines, water mains and gas lines, all above ground, froze, as did the East River. Frozen sparrows dropped from the sky; farm animals froze to death. The city came to a standstill; the New York Stock Exchange closed for the three day duration of the storm. Some brave souls attempted to walk to work and died trying. All communication ceased; Atlantic Highlands reported snow drifts twenty feet high, and like other parts of New Jersey, the town was cut off from the rest of the world for three days. Three pilot boats sank in the Horseshoe Cove off Sandy Hook. 400 people died in The Great Blizzard of 1888; some were not found until the snow melted.
As you comfortably work from home this Tuesday, be thankful for modern communications and infrastructure. Be glad for the forecasts of meteorologists that keep us prepared for Mother Nature's wrath. And let's hope those meteorologists are wrong this time!